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SUNRISE REGION: Canyon Springs overcomes distraction, tops Gators

For the first eight minutes of Tuesday’s game, Canyon Springs’ girls looked a bit disoriented.

It was understandable, considering the Pioneers were without head coach Dorothy Kendrick.

The final three quarters, though, would have made Kendrick proud.

Canyon Springs scored eight points in the first 55 seconds of the second quarter, starting a 20-2 run that allowed the Pioneers to pull away for a 76-45 win over visiting Green Valley in a Sunrise Region quarterfinal.

The Pioneers (20-1) will meet Liberty (23-5) in a region semifinal at 6:20 p.m. Thursday at Foothill.

“The girls were so uptight about coach Kendrick being in the hospital, and they played uptight in the first quarter,” said assistant coach James Fuller. “It’s hard for the girls, because she’s like a mother to them.

“They’re used to hearing that voice. Even though I’m the assistant coach, that’s the voice they’re used to hearing every day. It took them a little time to hear my voice and understand what we wanted.”

Kendrick underwent emergency surgery after being hospitalized Sunday with an undisclosed illness.

Without her, the Pioneers struggled to a 14-13 first-quarter lead before turning on the transition game in the second quarter to increase the margin to 40-20 at the half.

“It took them a while to relax, but once they did, we got into a groove,” Fuller said.

Senior Pearl Paulo led the way with 26 points and 13 rebounds, and Cherise Beynon added 21 points for Canyon Springs, which hasn’t lost since a Dec. 8 setback at Foothill.

“Pearl has been huge for us,” Fuller said. “She has just been awesome.”

Canyon Springs scored 12 points off Green Valley turnovers in the second quarter, including five transition baskets.

The Pioneers, whose tallest player is 5 feet, 10 inches, don’t have a true post player, yet outscored the Gators 32-4 in the paint in the first half.

Green Valley’s starting posts — Angelica Mack and Jill Harland — were limited to six first-half points.

“We run lanes,” Fuller said. “We like to play really fast, really up-tempo. We try to push the ball. We don’t post up. We don’t want to play with backs to the basket.”

Canyon Springs forced 28 turnovers.

Mack finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Gators (16-12), and teammate Maggie Manwarren scored 13. Harland grabbed 10 rebounds.

Coronado 62, Las Vegas 54 — At Las Vegas High, Sofie Cruz had 20 points, and the Cougars (20-9) overcame a 33-25 halftime deficit to knock out the Wildcats (16-7).

Kealy Brown added 11 points, and Carli Smith scored 10 for Coronado, which trailed 42-40 after three quarters.

The Cougars take on host Foothill (18-5) at 3 p.m. Thursday in the other semifinal.
Shomari Harris paced Las Vegas with 23 points, and teammate Matti Ventling added 17 points.

Liberty 59, Valley 35 — At Liberty, Alena Evans scored 13 of her 21 points in the first quarter and had 10 steals to lead the Patriots past the Vikings (15-13).

Dayanni Cochran grabbed 10 rebounds for Liberty, which led 28-15 at the half and used a 23-4 third-quarter run to put the game away.

Kennedy Wharton paced Valley with 10 points.

Foothill 66, Rancho 20 — At Foothill, Bri Higgins had 14 points and four blocked shots as the Falcons routed the Rams (17-10).

Julie Harless added nine points, and Emily Cox, Danielle Morris and Tanji Ajeto each had eight points for Foothill, which led 34-12 at the half.

Taylor Collins blocked four shots for the Falcons.

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