Duncan girls’ comeback falls short in season opening loss
DUNCAN – The Duncan Wildkats succumbed 27-40 to the visiting New Mexico Animas Panthers in the 2017 season opener Nov. 22.
The Wildkats trailed by four points (5-9) following the opening period, by nine (12-21) at halftime and by 14 (17-31) heading into the final frame.
The home girls tied the score at 5-5 with 3:32 elapsed in the game, but never led. Their initial period scoring all came via the charity stripe. Duncan was 4-8 on fourth-period floor shots after totaling 4-29 through the first three periods.
On the other side of the court, Animas connected on 4-15 fourth-period floor shots following 13-36 through the first three periods. Animas also enjoyed a 40-28 rebounding advantage.
Duncan head coach Roy Corona said the departure of players who graduated last year and the lack of court time with the new incantation of his team contributed to the loss.
“I expected us to struggle,” Corona said.
The nine-member Wildkats squad competed through the final buzzer, getting within 12 (25-37) with 2:01 left to play. Duncan trailed by as much as 18 (19-37) with 5:37 remaining.
On the night, Duncan made eight field goals (one 3-pointer) plus 10-15 free throws verses 18 (two 3-pointers) plus 4-10 from the line, respectively, for Animas.
Six different Wildkats attempted field goals but only one netted double-digit scoring. Senior Cassidy Waters tallied a game-high 19 points on 6-16 floor (one 3-pointer) plus 6-9 foul shots to go with 17 rebounds. Fellow class of 2017 teammates, Lindsey Lunt and Ashleigh Hernandez, totaled four and two points, respectively, and sophomores Delanie Claridge and Natalie Jensen had one point apiece. Juniors Britni Avant and Keeley Wagley, sophomore Katelin Stergion and freshman Kaktys Garcia did not score. Hernandez and Lunt both had four rebounds while Avant, Garcia and Claridge each had one.
An 11-member Animas roster entered the Wildkats’ lair with 10 getting playing time. Involvement with the volleyball program allowed a total of six practice sessions by the Panthers prior to the game. Jade Massey paced seven Panthers scoring with 13 points on five field goals plus 3-4 free throws. Penee Duncan, Liz Mendoza and Jaycee Offut each added six points; Ariadna Armendra had five, Tierney Washum four and Joshlyn Eddy two.
Duncan visits Superior Tuesday (Nov. 29), hosts Willcox Dec. 2, is at Winkelman Hayden Dec. 6, visits Fort Thomas Dec. 13 and closes out the month in Thatcher for the three-day (Dec. 15-17) 41st Eastern Arizona Holiday Tourney.