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Coach credits improved teamwork for girls’ basketball record

By: Alex Zener

January 26, 2008   

The Lady Aztecs have won seven of their last 10 games and made it to the finals in the Red Division of the Nike Tournament of Champions held in Chandler over the holiday break.

Corona played well the entire tournament despite battling injuries and has started to gain momentum after losing several games in the preseason partly due to their tough schedule which included the top seven teams in 5A Division I and two other previous divisions champions.

“The team is playing so much better together as a whole,” said head coach Pat Reed. “The girls are figuring out they all need each other to win and that the team’s final score is the most important one.”

The Lady Aztecs lost late in 2007 to Gilbert Mesquite in the Nike Tournament Red division final despite being within 3 points at 51-49 in the fourth quarter on a basket by Jordyn Wentis.

Corona resorted to fouling in an attempt to get the ball back in their hands so they could score points.  Mesquite responded by making their free throws when Corona put them on the line and the Lady Aztecs could not make up the difference losing 66-60.

Kim Pestalozzi, Corona’s leading scorer at 12.8 points a game, and Wentis had team high points with 16 points each.

Since placing second the Nike Tournament, CdS has won three out of four losing only to St. Mary’s. The Lady Aztecs beat St. Luis 81-27, with Alex Leake providing 13 assists, second best in CdS girls basketball history dating back to 1979.

Leake followed that performance with 8 assists in the win against Boulder Creek, 58-29. On Jan.17, Corona beat Red Mountain, last year’s 5A Division I state champions, 73-55.     

One of the factors helping Corona win is the improvement in the team’s guard play.

Our guards are playing extremely well, and all four can start on any given day with any of the forwards,” noted Reed.

Pestalozzi and Wentis lead the team in 3-point shots and are the leading scorers, along with Nicole Coggins, currently tied with Wentis at 8.9 points a game. In addition, Leake not only leads the teams in assists at 4.6 a game but in steals at 2.9 a game.

Guards are not the only Lady Aztecs stepping up their game.

Ali and Andrea Beaird are probably my biggest surprises,” says Reed. Andrea Beaird is a force to be reckoned with in the middle with almost one block a game and leading the team in rebounds.

“She is a great finesse player and sees the whole court,” said Reed.

In addition, JuQoya Cook has been crashing the boards when she is on the floor, averaging almost five rebounds a game and more than four points a game.

Corona is hoping to keep its train on track going into the highly competitive Central Region part of the season. Desert Vista and Basha are favored but, says Reed:

“We will be the surpriser.”

Region play started Jan. 22 for the Lady Aztecs at Mountain Pointe and will continue Jan. 25 at Desert Vista. The next home game will be Jan. 29 against Basha.


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