The Salt River High School Lady Eagles rolled past Tri-City College Prep on Saturday, February 15, with a 54-17 win. A week later, they played Desert Heights Preparatory Academy and scored a heart-racing 1-point victory, 39-38, to advance to the Division II state championship game.
“My heart is still trying to calm down after this win,” said the head coach of the Lady Eagles, Kyronna Roanhorse, after the 1-point win over the Desert Heights Coyotes.
The dramatic game took place at Valley Lutheran High School in Phoenix. The Eagles were up in the first quarter but lost their lead early in the second, never regaining until they went on an impressive drive late in the fourth quarter, overcoming a 6-point deficit in the final two minutes to win.
“It was an amazing win. It was a team win from starters to the bench. I was down three starters being fouled out, and I pulled people off the bench. Even if they were in there for 30 seconds or a minute and half, they stepped up to the plate. I am proud of each of them. None of them gave up,” said Roanhorse.
The Lady Eagles continued on, playing the no. 1 seed, Skyline-Gila River Mustangs for the state title at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Tuesday, February 25. Fans filled three sections of the arena to cheer on both teams as they battled for the CAA Division II State Tournament Championship.
Ultimately, the Mustangs led the scoreboard throughout the game and defeated the Lady Eagles, 63-40.
SRHS senior Lynnyice Carlisle played with the Lady Eagles since junior high but went to play at Saguaro High School with her sister last year. She came back to SRHS for her senior year.
“It feels good to finish my senior year and the last year of high school; it feels good to be back with the girls,” said Carlisle. “We played our hardest tonight, but I think we could have communicated more and played harder on defense to get the win.”
Although the Lady Eagles fell short against the Mustangs, the crowd cheered for them as they received the second-place trophy.
“It was a tough loss for us. To finish out in second place, it takes a little bit more to understand that. For me the hardest part is understanding that there has to be a winner or loser at the end of the day,” said Roanhorse. “We pick and choose our battles, the small mistakes catch up with us to finish the game, we have to work on some things, and the things we work on we have to make sure we carry into the game.”
Roanhorse explained that making it this far is a big accomplishment. The team has made it to the CAA State Championships in the last two years, and that takes a lot of work.
“They do work very hard to get back to where they were, but it takes more work each year,” said Roanhorse. “Hopefully, in the off season the girls who are not seniors will continue to work on their game.”