GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — The Phantoms held their own against the Joseph City Wildcats in the first half of the Feb. 1 game, down by just 8 points at intermission, the game still firmly within reach. But the Phantoms experienced a scoring slump in the third quarter, putting up just 5 points against the Wildcats’ 19. Even though the Phantoms were able to right the ship in the fourth to outscore the Wildcats, the damage had been done.
Head Coach David Perkins said the Phantoms were simply outgunned by the Wildcats’ balanced scoring attack, and were also outrebounded by about 50 percent, 44 to 24. Aleryn Reid and Rufus Keebahe carried the offensive load for the Phantoms, scoring 22 points and 18 points respectively. No other Phantoms were able to break into double digits — Elijah Dugi added four points, Caius Kennedy and Cordell Bob dropped in three points apiece and Nolan Lyle and Markeith Donley scored two points each. Reid let the team in rebounding with eight, followed by Dugi with five and Bob with four. The Wildcats prevailed 73-54.
When the Phantoms faced the Fredonia Lynx the following day, it was a different story. Their last game in front of a home crowd, the Phantoms put on a scoring show. Reid was in his usual top form, speeding down the court on his way to a game-high 34 points, including a perfect 10 out of 10 from the free throw line. Lyle came off the bench to spark the Phantoms with 16 points, six rebounds and two steals.
Dugi added six points and seven rebounds, while Carlos Briones with 4 points and 4 rebounds and Markeith Donley with 4 points and 3 rebounds turned in their best games of the season. Reid, Briones, Donley and Dugi, all seniors, played and won their final game at Grand Canyon, defeating the Lynx 74-58.
“That’s the most points and the best offensive performance I have seen from our boys in a number of years,” Perkins said.
Perkins said Reid has emerged this season as one of the top offensive players in 1A Central section, averaging 17.2 points per game and leading the region in successful three-point shots with 38. He is also tied for the region lead in steals per game at 2.6.
Lady Phantoms defeat Joseph City and Fredonia behind Longhoma, Keebahe
The Lady Phantoms routed their final two opponents of the regular season, starting with Joseph City Feb. 1. The Lady Phantoms moved the ball well during a balanced scoring attack and the defense stepped up to limit the Lady Wildcats to single digits in both the first and second periods for a 31-18 halftime lead. Confident in a secure lead, the Lady Phantoms cruised through the second half, defeating their conference rival 60-41.
The sopohmores carried the day — Savannah Longhoma put up 16 points and had seven steals, while Kara Austin owned the paint with 12 points and nine rebounds and eight steals. Alana Keebahe, who has stepped up this season to provide a jolt of offense and steady defense, scored 16 points, hauled in nine rebounds and dished out five assists. Junior Cayli Miles, while quieter on the scoreboard with 8 points, offered up seven assists and grabbed four rebounds of her own.
Senior Makiah Kennedy added 4 points and 3 rebounds, while Sherice Keevama and Maria Dugi added two points apiece.
The scoring onslaught continued against the Fredonia Lynx the following day. Although the Lady Phantoms found themselves down by four points after the first period, it was the last time they were ever behind. After a slow start and 12 points, the Lady Phantoms put on a scoring clinic in the second quarter, torching the Lynx for 27 points and taking a strong 11-point lead into the locker room.
Within the first few minutes of the third quarter, the game was decided. The Lady Phantoms defense held the Lynx to just nine points for the remainder of the game, scoring 33 points in the period and 12 in the final frame to defeat the Lynx at home 84-37.
By the end of the game, 12 Lady Phantoms had scored and two others contributed seven rebounds and an assist.
Longhoma had a breakout game with 27 points, going 5-of-9 from beyond the arc, with five assists and three steals. Keebahe had another strong game with 16 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three steals. Miles added 12 points and five assists, and Austin crashed the boards for 10 rebounds while scoring five points