This year’s Westwood High School girls’ junior varsity basketball team has been spending the last two months continuing to develop their skills and learning how to win as a team. They began their season with back-to-back losses against Boulder Creek and Cesar Chavez high schools on December 6 and 11, respectively. However, the girls were victorious on January 9, when they easily handled the Basha Bears 34-26.
Westwood sophomores and Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community members Alyssa Thomas and Taylor Moore got ample playing time against Cibola during Westwood’s JV game on January 11. Moore handled the ball like a true point guard, commanding the court like a field general. Thomas controlled the paint like a dominant center, battling for every rebound and boxing out her opponents.
Cibola battled hard and converted many of Westwood’s turnovers into points. By halftime, only a handful of points separated the two teams. Late in the third quarter, Moore turned it up by stealing the ball for an easy layup going into the fourth quarter. The home crowd exploded with applause after Moore’s easy bucket, which gave Westwood the lead.
But Cibola’s defense was tenacious as they double-teamed Moore and Thomas in the fourth quarter, resulting in turnovers and missed jump shots for Westwood. In the final moments of the game, Moore attempted a 3-pointer that would’ve given the Warriors the lead, but the ball bounced off the backboard and into the arms of Cibola.
Westwood had one final attempt to win the game in the final seconds. They called a timeout after a Cibola turnover and drew up a play for Thomas to try to send the game into overtime. Thomas would make the basket; however, the referees did not call a foul on the final possession of the game, and the Westwood JV girls would go on to lose in a very close finish, with a score of 32-34.
The JV girls basketballers will continue to battle on the court throughout January and February. Their next home game will be against the Mesa High School Jackrabbits on January 18. They have an away game against Red Mountain the following day, and then they return back home for a game against Dobson High on January 23.