Jamee Swan scored 13 of her 20 points in the second half to lead Marana to a late rally, but still came up short as the Tigers (3-4) fell to the unbeaten Flowing Wells Caballeros, 48-37.
Swan struggled in the first half, as she made one of her first seven shots.
“I’m still kind of healing (from a November injury),” Swan said. “I felt like we got more in rhythm in the second half.”
After the Caballeros’ Elizabeth Mata scored three baskets in a row, the Caballeros went up 41-25 in the third. After three, the Tigers trailed, 41-30.
But, the Tigers came roaring back in the fourth. The defense held the Caballeros scoreless for almost five minutes, and a breakaway basket by Swan capped off a 6-0 run, and cut the Caballeros’ lead to 41-36.
In addition to Swan’s 20 points, she had 11 rebounds, three blocked shots and three steals.
“We emphasized in the locker room (at halftime) to work on defense,” said Tigers’ coach Diane Swan.
The Tigers held Flowing Wells to one basket in the fourth quarter, and forced 12 turnovers in the second half.
Lyndsay Leikem led the Caballeros with 13 points, but considering the senior’s role as the team’s perennial leading scorer, the Tigers did a good job on her defensively.
“Mally McGarity did a great job guarding Leikem,” Swan said. “When we had her on top of a 3-2 defense, we did a great job of guarding.”
Once the Tigers got close, the Caballeros made sure to put the game away.
Karina Walker made a pair of free throws, and a three-pointer by Czarina Walker upped the lead back to 46-37. Flowing Wells went to a ball control offense and held the ball for the last few minutes, forcing the Tigers to foul just to get the ball back.
“We got ourselves into that deep hole,” Swan said.
The Tigers made five baskets, and shot 20% from the floor in the first half. The Tigers trailed 29-17 at halftime.
Swan’s support came from Alyssa Ruiz, McGarity, and Shalise Borden, as they scored five points each for Marana.
“They gained more confidence in their shooting (in the second half),” coach Swan said.
Arie Wells had 10 points for Flowing Wells, Mata had nine, and Czarina Walker had six points off of two three pointers.
The Tigers have now lost twice to Flowing Wells this season.
“It’s disappointing,” coach Swan said. “We played three games this week.”
Swan felt the team was pretty tired, which made their fourth quarter performance seem commendable.
“We’ve had 11 games since the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. They’re doing a good job.”
For a team that’s used to being a playoff team, after playoff berths in each of the last two years, the Tigers are not happy with their losing record before Christmas.
“We have all Christmas break to get better,” Jamee Swan said.
Since the Tigers won’t play again until Tuesday, Dec. 27, when they face Blue Ridge in the Payson Tournament, these next couple of weeks will give them a much-needed opportunity to recharge their batteries.