The margin of victory may not have mattered as much as the interaction in between plays.
No matter how the first game for Desert Vista girls basketball under new coach interim Jontar Coleman was defined it was a resounding success on Tuesday evening.
The Thunder ran roughshod over Sandra Day O’Connor in an 83-37 victory in the first game since first-year coach Jaysie Chambers-Sheppard was asked to resign after several incidents came to a boil in a loss to Mountain Pointe on Friday.
In her place is the newly-promoted Coleman, who came into the program last season as the freshman coach and was bumped to the JV coach before the start of the year, and it was clear by the smile on his face after the game that he is excited about the opportunity presented before him.
“It feels real good,” Coleman said. “My thing the last couple of days was telling the girls to play hard. My motto is to finish strong so I guess we finished strong. The girls played real hard and that’s all I ask for.”
The Thunder (13-7) closed out the second quarter with a scoring barrage that was ignited by their defensive pressure, which Coleman said he tweaked while keeping the offense the same.
Desert Vista went on a 16-0 run over a 4 minute and 15 second span to blow open a 24-17 lead and went into halftime leading 42-20.
“It’s a fresh start,” said guard Aly Kennedy, who finished with 12 points unofficially. “We feel like we are a new team. Coach came into the locker room and said, ‘We are 0-0 and it’s time to get to 1-0.’ It feels good. We feel more like a team. It’s crazy how it can change that fast.”
The third quarter was another impressive showing as the Thunder outscored the 11-9 Eagles 30-10 before the bench players played out the fourth quarter.
It was an impressive showing considering the team played without top-post player Kristine Anigwe (ankle) and all of the off the court drama surrounding the program.
“I knew the girls were going to be focused,” Coleman said. “When I came in I told them – ‘Girls all you have to do is keep playing basketball.’ If you play the game the way you love the game you are going to play focused regardless and that’s what they did.”
Desert Vista’s Emily Wolph finished with 15 points, while Jayla Brown had 12 and Kylie Butler added 11.
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Jskoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.