Saturday, Feb. 21, 2009 | 6:06 p.m.
- WHAT: Girls 4A State Championship basketball tournament
- WHEN: Feb. 26 at 3 p.m.
- WHERE: The Orleans Arena
- INFO: niaa.com
With a 72-62 victory over Silverado in Saturday’s Sunrise Regional Finals, the Green Valley High girls basketball team earned a trip to the state championship tournament on Feb. 26 and a measure of vindication.
This was the third straight time the Gators had faced Silverado in the playoffs and the second time they had met in the finals. While the Hawks came out with the win the last two years, Green Valley junior guard Jazmine Jarvis said the Gators finally proved they can win the big game.
“It's amazing to finally be going to the state tournament,” Jarvis said. “It’s like a dream. It’s beyond words. And to be able to do it against Silverado is even better. We wanted to show we could beat a good team in a big game.”
The win was an uphill battle for the Gators as the odds were seemingly stacked in Silverado’s favor.
Jarvis, the Gators’ leading scorer, was playing through a knee injury suffered in Friday’s semifinals win over Liberty that seriously limited her ability to drive.
Senior center Vajae Robinson, their leading defender, got into foul trouble in the second quarter and had to sit out the entire third quarter. Silverado junior point guard Shea Collins couldn’t miss in the first half igniting for 23 points.
But the Gators could not be stopped as junior guard Danielle Christenson and senior Aja Flippin combined for 25 points in the second half while holding Collins to only four.
“These girls gutted it out,” Green Valley coach Lorenzo Jarvis said. “I can’t even say how proud I am of them. Each and every one of them stepped up and did what they had to do. This is a special team. We’re not a one-man or even two-man show — it’s a true team effort every time.”
Lorenzo Jarvis said that while the state tournament experience will be new for his team, he expects them to perform the way they have all year — with a balanced attack that has led to an undefeated record in the Southeast Division (14-0) and a current 18-game winning streak.
“The girls have never been through the state tournament but they’ve faced tough teams, they’ve faced adversity and they’ve faced high pressure situations,” Lorenzo Jarvis said. “They’ve faced all that and come out on top. They’re just going to stay focused and play Green Valley basketball.”
Another lights-out night from Christenson wouldn’t hurt either. She posted a game-high 32 points against the Hawks while Flippin put up another 19.
Junior forward Sarah Pickus added 12. Despite being off the court for roughly a quarter and a half, Robinson still pulled down 12 rebounds with six blocks.
“I was just running on emotion,” Christenson said. “We were down a lot of the game and I just needed to make my shots. It feels so good to finally make it (to the state tournament). We have to make sure we practice hard and keep up the same intensity we had today.”
Silverado still has a shot at making the state tournament as well as they now prepare for the Monday’s play-in game against Bishop Gorman, the loser of Friday’s Sunset Regional championship game against Centennial.
“Green Valley is a great team, they just out-performed us tonight,” Silverado coach Kelli Matthews said. “I don’t think there’s anything we could have done different. They played hard and we got unlucky at times. We just have to go into Monday’s game and play like we did today and hope for the best.”