Criminal girls drop to 0-5 in region
Yuma's girls basketball season was progressing nicely before it began 5A Central region play. Six games later, the Criminals' season is spiraling out of control.
Sarah Amos scored 17 points, while Sam Chittenden added 16 and six assists as Tempe-Marcos de Niza knifed through Yuma 67-36 in a region bout Tuesday at the Palace on Prison Hill.
Yuma (13-10, 0-5) dropped its fifth straight game. The Criminals trailed by eight after one period, 13 at halftime and trailed by 30 after the Padres outscored them 23-6 in the third period.
"We just lost our heads," coach Kenny Kimbrough said. "We're crumbling as a team. Our off-the-court problems and personal issues are just killing us."
The game was still close when Yuma's Donna Zaragoza made a spinning layup early in the second period to pull the Criminals within six, 18-12.
The Padres would answer with a 10-3 run, five points by the 6-foot-1 Amos, to close out the half. They then scored 23 of the game's next 27 points to open a 32-point lead.
Chittenden, who missed most of the second quarter after she picked up her third foul, made three baskets and dished four assists in the spurt. She left the game at that point, but briefly returned in the fourth quarter and sunk her third three-pointer before exiting for good.
"She made some bad fouls in the first half," said Marcos de Niza coach Jeff Glab, "but I thought if she was on the floor, we could have really opened up the lead. She played smart in the second half and helped us do that. She's grown up so much."
Kimbrough was not in position to say as much for his squad. The Criminals never really had an answer for the Padres' full-court press, turning the ball over on several occasions, but Kimbrough had his own explanation.
"It wasn't their press," he said. "Our big-wigs didn't show up, didn't come to play. We've lost players, had injuries...right now, it's tough."
Yuma still has time to turn things around, with three regular season games remaining before the region tournament begins.
Nick Taylor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 782-6520.