Sometimes success is measured in other ways than just winning games.
Coach Kristy Kleespies and her seventh grade charges traveled south to the Fortuna Tournament this past weekend and took on three eighth grade squads.
“We played against teams that were taller than us and some just better,” Kleespies said.
“It was good experience for us to go against tough competition,” added Kleespies. “We got a lot out of this experience.”
In their opening game, the seventh graders ran into a better team. Azalea gave up an 11-point halftime lead on their way to a 29-48 loss.
“The girls played hard,” Kleespies said, “and I like that.”
Brooklyn Hiller and Amber Clarke paced the Lady Bruins offensively with 10 and seven points respectively.
The loss sent Azalea into the Consolation bracket and a match-up with Redway where they lost a close game, 32-33.
“This was a game that either team could have won,” commented Kleespies. “We needed to pass better and hit our free throws, but we did well considering we were playing eighth graders.”
Siena Worthey made her presence known inside, scoring 17, while guard Tyrah Baron chipped in seven from the outside.
Playing their third game within 24 hours tested Azalea’s conditioning and focus, but they used a 22-4 second quarter run to post a 51-20 win over Fortuna.
“We pressed and just basically outran them in that quarter ,” Kleespies said. “It was just an all-around good team game for the girls. We were successful.”
Worthey and Hiller paced Azalea inside with 14 and 10 points while guard scoring honors went to Baron, eight and Luka Frazier, seven.
Coach Lori Cooper and her Azalea eighth graders won two of three games, bringing home the tournament’s second place trophy.
In their opener, Azalea turned a one point halftime deficit into a 42-24 win.
“We just wore them down,” Cooper said. “After going back and forth for three quarters, we just took off in the last quarter.”
Seven girls scored for Azalea led by the inside work of Courtney Bay and her game high 21 points.
Drew Farmer, 6, and Brenna Clarke, 5, led the Lady Bruins from the outside.
With the win Azalea found themselves in a semifinal matchup with Redwood.
The Lady Bruins outscored Redwood 21-6 in the second and third quarters on their way to a 39-15 win.
Bay and Farmer led Azalea with 12 points each while Vanessa Hernandez and Maggie Camacho added five and four each.
In a game that was tight all the way, the Bruins failed to convert their free throw opportunities and lost, 33-37, to Jacoby Creek.
“It was a good tight game,” Cooper said. “We would have won if we could have made our free throws.”
Bay led Azalea with 10 points while Hernandez, 9, Brenna Clarke, 8, Jordan Smalley, 4, and Farmer, 2, rounded out the scoring.
Azalea versus Redwood
The AMS girls basketball teams won two games Tuesday night that almost didn’t happen – no registered officials showed up.
The seventh graders, now 9-3, managed to eke out a 19-16 lead at the half behind the play of guards Luka Frazier, 13 points, and Tyrah Baron, 10, along with the inside work of Joci Kay, six.
The Lady Bruins used the third quarter, and a full court press to race to a 36-19 lead, but almost gave the game back when they didn’t score for the first five minutes of the fourth quarter.
The last three minutes of the game were all Azalea needed though, as Amber Clarke, six, Brooklyn Hiller, five, Siena Worthey, nine, and Frazier all scored to lead the Bruins to a 49-37 victory.
The first and third quarters of Tuesday night’s game for the eighth grade girls were marked by one unique factor – a sparsity of scoring. The Lady Bruins scored only two points in each of those quarters on their way to claiming a 30-19 victory over the Lady Raiders of Redwood.
Azalea led the entire game until the 3:30 mark of the third quarter when Raider guard Reagan Lofton scored two of her game-high 17 points to give the visitors a 16-14 lead.
Azalea would then go on a 14-0 run as Raider turnovers off Azalea’s full-court press put the game away.
Nine different players scored for Azalea as they ran their sparkling record to 8-1.
The teams are idle for the Thanksgiving holiday but will return at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 29, to host Smith River.