By Vern Hee
Tough defense won the game for the Lady Hornets, who out-played their opponent, the Lund Mustangs, to win 58-25.
The win will take the girls to Chaparral High School to play the second seed Pahranagat Valley Panthers from Alamo today.
The Wednesday night game had all the makings of a playoff game. The band was there, the mascots and the teams even had top-notch referees, including Dale Norton, the superintendent of Nye County Schools.
Lund was the sixth-place seed in the game and it showed. Beatty ran the ball well and took advantage of its quickness and slight height advantage.
The Hornets’ defense was stellar and unforgiving. They ran a full court press most of the night and were able to pick the ball off at will.
When the Hornets weren’t stealing the ball, they denied the Mustangs the easy inside shot and made them take the low percentage outside shots.
On offense, Beatty showed the home crowd their style of play, driving the ball deep inside and the wings, led by Christina Thompson, passed to the post, Lucero Hernandez or Melynda Gross.
The Hornets showed great skill in hitting the dump pass inside. This was their bread and butter shot for the evening.
The Mustangs were totally out-gunned and never could get into the game. They fell behind quickly in the first quarter, 13-5 and Beatty really turned on the pressure.
Aimee Senior, head Beatty coach, was very pleased with the results, particularly the defense.
“The girls are always after the ball,” said Senior. “They want to get the ball. This is very typical of these girls.”
In the Hornets full-court press, the defense would put the pressure on the ball handler and then have Thompson or Gross, who both have great speed, waiting for the pass and intercepting the ball.
By halftime the Beatty ladies had a 27-15 lead.
In the second half, Lund tried to work the ball inside but were again forced out by the Beatty zone. Lucero Hernandez, the Beatty post, was just a beast inside. She tore the ball away from the Lund offense all night long and would not let them get inside.
The second half was no different than the first. In fact, Beatty ran away with the game in the second, outscoring the Mustangs 26-12.
Senior played her five starters almost the whole game with little rest.
Gross finally got four fouls and was taken out for a rest with about three minutes left in the game. When Gross came out, so did Hernandez.
The bench was just as strong, with Nicole Zamora coming in and making some baskets and free throws.
Will Beatty be going to the state title game this year? If you were a Beatty fan and at last Wednesday night’s game you are a believer. Everything clicked and worked like clockwork for the Lady Hornets. They were just monsters on the court.
Senior believes her defense can withstand the Alamo offense.
“We will try to run a version of this press against Alamo, they are quick on the pass though,” she said.
Senior said if Gross plays smart she will stay in the whole game, free from foul trouble. The Hornets need it if they are to beat the Panthers.
“Sometimes Melynda Gross gets into foul trouble early. If she plays her game and listens to her coaches she will back off. She tends to be a little aggressive.”
When asked if she feels her girls are capable of sustaining the press against Alamo, Senior replied, “We put the press on against them last time so I’m not afraid the girls will get tired.
“We ran it for the first three quarters and the five starters played all three quarters.
“I’m not going to say I’m not worried. Alamo is always good. They are always strong. They always have quick passing, strong rebounding and it is something we have to be prepared to come out and play.”
To say the Hornets are peaking at the right time is an understatement. In the last five games, Beatty has beat their opponents by more than 20 points in four of five games.
Senior says the Panthers, at 6-1 in league, have good outside shooters.
If Beatty brings the defense, they could pick up a win. The game starts at 3 p.m.
If Beatty does advance today, they will go to the league finals at Sunrise Mountain in Las Vegas and win a spot to state.
Beatty is a well-coached team with a high basketball IQ. The team has a good sense of the game and are highly skilled in both offense and defense. This team may very well upset Alamo in the playoffs.
The last state championship they won was in 1995. The last state tournament they were in was in 2012. Senior has made the playoffs 10 times since 2001.
Beatty Defensive Stats
Melynda’s stats: 13 rebounds, 7 steals & 2 assists
Lucero’s stats: 10 rebounds
Shankara’s: 7 rebounds, 5 steals, 2 assists
Ginny’s: 8 steals, 3 assists
Christina’s; 7 rebounds, 5 steals