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Two Basketball Wins Over Winslow for the Sand Devils

Two Basketball Wins Over Winslow for the Sand Devils
December 04
09:20 2019

Camryn Nockindeneh

The 2019/2020 high school basketball season got underway at Page High School Tuesday night (12/3) and it was a smashing success for the girls’ and the boys’ teams.

The Bulldogs of Winslow, Arizona were the opponents for the night. The Page Gals, headed by Coach Ryan Whitehorse, started it off with a 55-40 win. But it wasn’t all that easy. The Sand Devils had a 7-point lead at the half, but by the end of the 3rd quarter, it was a 4-point game, 36-32.

But when the 4th quarter began junior Diana Secody started it off with a beautiful shot, and that seemed to set the tone, as the girls ended up with that 15-point victory.

Winslow’s head coach, Jerron Jordan, had no trouble being noticed during the game. His frequent whistle to get the attention of one or more of his players would echo off the gym walls. He was intense, but Page Coach Whitehorse made it clear after the game that he has a lot of respect for Coach Jordan.

When asked, Coach Whitehorse credited his girls’ defense for their success.

“All we’ve been working on for the past month is defense,” he told Lake Powell Communications immediately after the game. “And with the first game of the season, it means we’ve got those first-game jitters out of our way.”

Girls’ Coach Whitehorse

In the final analysis, the coach said he was just so pleased with the way his team played defense Tuesday night.

“I’m really looking forward to the season,” said the coach, who knows his team is going after their third consecutive state title.

The second game of the night was just a little bit more nail-biting in nature for the large crowd at the high school’s gym.

Winslow started-off with a 9-7 lead that was erased on a three-pointer by Gabe Gomez, who is coming off what was simply an incredible football season for the Sand Devils. In fact, he was named the offensive player of the year in the division!

One thing you note about the Page offense; they know how to pass. Their passing and scoring began giving the team some breathing room.

Speaking of their 18-point second quarter Tuesday night, head coach Justin Smith said, “The second quarter was what we should look like.”

That led to a nine 9-point halftime lead 30-21.

The third quarter didn’t go as well after Winslow obviously made some adjustments. By the time the 4th quarter began the Page lead had dwindled to six points, 39-33.

Page’s Jordan Varner

A lot of the Sand Devils’ success in the very tight 4th quarter has to be credited to junior Stuart Sandall, who at 6’ 9” is a serious presence out there on the court. He didn’t play basketball his sophomore year, but it’s a pretty good bet that the team coaches are glad to have him back. He really got in the way of what the Bulldogs were trying to do in the 4th quarter.

As the game was winding down, there was no certainty about who would get the victory. With 2:13 remaining it was a one-point game; 46-45. With 1:01 left on the clock it was a 2-point game, with the Sand Devils leading 49-47.

The waning seconds saw senior guard Jordan Varner at the free-throw line. In a very clutch situation, he made one of two, making it 52-47, and that ended up being your final score!

“Hey, it’s the first game and it’s against Winslow,” said a relieved Coach Smith after the game. “I don’t know the last time the Page boys beat Winslow. We’ll take it. That’s a good basketball team we beat.”

Like Coach Whitehorse with the girls’ team, Coach Smith stresses defense! And he said the defense Tuesday night was pretty good…at times.

“I talked to the team just now. There were a couple of breakdowns (on defense) that continued to happen,” added Smith. “But all-in-all I was happy.”

Dancing at halftime

He said one thing they have to do this season is out-rebound their opponents.

Speaking of # 34 Stuart Sandal, the coach had praise for him after the game.

“I thought Stu played real well; played big for us, and I told Gabe (Gomez) he did a good job taking control down the stretch,” said the coach.”

He added that the team needs to work on conditioning.

“We had some players pretty winded.”

Next up for the guys is the Sedona Invitational Thursday through Saturday.

While that is going on there, the Sand Devils girls will be hosting the Holiday Classic right here in Page.

Game # 1 is Thursday night (12/5) at 6:30 when they will host Crimson Cliff High School from Washington, Utah.

Two Basketball Wins Over Winslow for the Sand Devils - overview

Summary: Two Basketball Wins Over Winslow for the Sand Devils

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