Lady Warriors’ Run for AIA Girls Basketball State Championship Ends in the Elite Eight

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Coach Ron Campton has a heartfelt take with the Lady Warriors letting them know how proud he was of the team this season after their final game of their season.

The Westwood High School girl’s basketball team played their first Sweet 16 game of the 2022 AIA Girls Basketball State Championships Conference 6A on Tuesday, February 16. The Lady Warriors defeated the Cesar Chavez Champions 62-48, advancing to the Elite Eight. The Lady Warriors went on to play against the Perry Pumas on Tuesday, February 22, in hopes of advancing to the semifinals, but unfortunately the Pumas defeated the Lady Warriors 47-35. 

On February 16, faced with another chance to reach the championship game, the Lady Warriors worked hard against the ladies of Cesar Chavez, who were fast and aggressive. The Lady Warriors knew they had to try to outrun the Champions for four quarters. 

Nyese Jones breaks free for the easy layup. 

“We had a couple of good moments and a good game. We obviously have some things we need to clean up going into the next one, but we will make some adjustments and hit practice hard the next four days to be ready to face the Perry Pumas,” said coach Ron Campton after the game with the Champions. 

During the game, the team celebrated another 1,000-point record broken by Nikkianna Kinsel and Angelina Montoya and ended up with the single-season three-point record with 44 three-pointers. 

“It feels great. Honestly, we did this last year but lost to Dobson, and we plan to go further this year and hopefully take state,” said Angelina Montoya about breaking the three-point record and the win against Cesar Chavez.

The almost all Native American team featured four Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community members: Nyese Jones (senior), Angelina Montoya (sophomore), Kristine Scabby (junior) and Alexis Smith (junior). 

“It feels good being able to try to go deeper this year,” said Smith about playing in the AIA Girls Basketball State Championships bracket. “I know a lot of the seniors, and it feels good to be able to play with them and try to help get them as far as we can before their last game.” 

Elite Eight 

Kristine Scabby pulls up for the jump shot to help put points on the board. 

The stands were full with at least 1,000 spectators for the Elite Eight matchup between the Lady Warriors and Perry Pumas of Gilbert on February 22. The Lady Warriors got off to a rough start, with none of their shots falling in the basket, and the Pumas led 0-15 in the first quarter of the game. At the start of the second quarter, Jones was fouled and went to the free-throw line, putting the first two points on the board. Holding off the Pumas from scoring, Nikkianna Kinsel and Scabby helped put five more points on the board. By the end of the second quarter, the Lady Warriors were down by 11 points. 

In the second half, the shots were still not falling for most of the Lady Warriors. However, Leeann Kinsel, K’ya Burrough and Ahmya Freeland contributed to adding points on the scoreboard. The Lady Warriors eventually lost the game 35-47 to Perry, ending their 2021-22 season. 

Angelina Montoya quickly drives past her defender. 

The Lady Warriors are three-time East Valley Region Champions and have represented tribal nations from across Arizona, including the SRPMIC. They are in the top eight teams in the Arizona 6A division. The team will lose a few players next year, including SRPMIC member Jones, but will continue with Montoya, Scabby, Smith and hopefully some talented newcomer’s next season. 

“I look forward to going to play basketball at the college level next year and the new challenges,” said Jones about what she looks forward to next. “I want to thank all my coaches who got me here today.” 

For highlights of the Lady Warriors’ past games, visit www.maxpreps.com/high-schools/westwood-warriors-(mesa,az)/girls-basketball/home.htm.

Alexis Smith attempts a three pointer in the game against Perry. 
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