SUNRISE GIRLS: Betoney, Foothill rally to victory

Things were looking grim for Foothill on Thursday when junior guard Trinity Betoney pulled herself from the lineup late in the second quarter.

Her team was on the wrong end of a rout, and Betoney couldn’t seem to get a shot to fall.

But a few minutes of rest solved her problems as she stormed back in the second half, finishing with 24 points and eight rebounds to help the Falcons rally from a big deficit to defeat Canyon Springs 57-42 in the Sunrise Region girls basketball semifinals at Liberty.

The win lifted Foothill (24-5) into today’s championship game, where it will play host to Liberty (24-3) at 5 p.m.

“I was making a lot of turnovers, so I told my coach to take me out,” Betoney said. “In the second half, I came back in ready.”

The Falcons needed her strong return after being manhandled in a first quarter that saw the Pioneers (17-7) take a 17-8 lead while making the most of an 11-2 rebounding advantage.

With more bench depth, Foothill chipped away at the deficit throughout the second quarter, but Canyon Springs still clung to a 23-21 lead at halftime.

“We just wanted to try to figure out what they were running,” Betoney said of her team’s halftime discussion. “We mostly talked about defense.”

But Betoney was thinking about offense. She nailed two of her six 3-pointers in the first four minutes of the second half, igniting an 18-2 run that helped Foothill blow open the game.

“Trinity wasn’t mentally there in the first half,” Falcons coach Keith Starr said. “But she came back in the second half and started hitting her shots.”

Starr, who has become accustomed to Betoney’s leadership on the court, acknowledged that he and his players were stunned by the Pioneers’ quick start. But he also knew his bench was considerably deeper.

“We knew in that first quarter that we just had to keep the score within distance,” said Starr, whose team got several Canyon Springs players into foul trouble in the second half. “We knew we’d just have to come back in the second half.”

Rae Burrell gave Foothill its first second-half lead at 26-25 early in the third quarter. Her 13-footer moments later made it 28-27, and Betoney took over from there as the Falcons maintained the lead for the remainder of the game.

Burrell finished with 14 points and eight rebounds, and teammate Bri Rosales scored seven points.

Alexia Thrower scored 11 of her game-high 26 points in the first quarter to lead Canyon Springs. She also had 11 rebounds and three steals.

Liberty 70, Silverado 30 — Liberty fell behind by a pair of baskets in the opening minutes of the late semifinal, but any suspense ended in a hurry. Nancy Caballero had 16 points, five rebounds and three steals to help the Patriots roll to a win over Silverado.

Liberty took over with a 12-1 run early in the first quarter, aided by the Skyhawks’ 10 turnovers in the first 3:42.

Silverado, which struggled to adjust to Liberty’s full-court press throughout most of the first half, finished with 40 turnovers, and rarely got more than one shot opportunity.

Kaily Kaimikaua set the pace for the Patriots early, scoring all 16 of her points in the first half. Taylor Turney added 13 points and five rebounds for Liberty, which led 54-17 at halftime.

Ja’neal Coleman scored all 11 of her points in the first half to lead Silverado (10-15), and teammate Sidni Wise-Wright added eight points.