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Chavez, Rodriguez, defense lifts Hawks over Kofa
Daily picks up win over former mentor
G.R. 10-9-11-12 — 42
Kofa 11-4-13-6 — 34
Gila Ridge — Dillon Chavez 11, Rodriguez 9, Weeks 7, McCullough 6, Jordan 4, Frabasilio 2, McLaren 2, Espinoza 1, Shill, Mayes, Kehl
Kofa — Issac Coronado 13, Castaneda 8, Brown 6, Valle 3, Camacho 2, Sanchez 2, Fischer, Garcia, Nuen
Gila Ridge star point guard Marcus Weeks wasn't feeling it from the field Friday night against Kofa.
But senior guard Dillon Chavez, sophomore post Parker Rodriguez and a stingy defense was more than enough and the Hawks took down the Kings in a gritty 42-34 win at home.
Weeks went 0 for 6 from the field and finished with seven points but Chavez scored a team-high 11 and Rodriguez flirted with a double-double, scoring nine points to go with 11 rebounds.
“Dillon has been playing really well lately,” Weeks said. “It definitely took the pressure off me because I knew I didn't have to force anything.”
“Dillon has played some good basketball as of late,” Gila Ridge coach Joe Daily said. “And you know Dillon's going to help out, Parker is going to help out, Kevin (McCullough) is going to help out.”
Daily also said that even though Weeks didn't make a basket the entire game, his presence on the court — especially in the fourth quarter — was invaluable for the Hawks.
“Marcus is a tough kid. He played through it,” he said about Weeks' struggles from the floor. “Yeah, he didn't have his best stuff tonight but I thought in the fourth quarter he slowed it down and took care of the basketball. He pulled that game out for us. He still led the team.”
Sophomore wing Isaac Coronado had a game-high 13 points for Kofa and sophomore guard Zac Castaneda added eight points in the losing effort.
A free throw by Castaneda made it 35-31 midway through the fourth and Gila Ridge (8-5) scored five of its remaining seven points on splitting free throws. Regardless, a tough Hawk defense never let the Kings (5-8) back into the game.
“It was our defense. That's what kept us ahead,” Rodriguez said.
“We made some poor decisions as far as when to shoot the basketball and that cost us a couple possessions when we couldn't score,” Kofa coach Danilo Montialli said. “So Gila Ridge took the lead and it was hard for us to get it back.”
After losing it's first 12 games against Kofa since 2008-2009, the Hawks have now won two straight against the Kings. Last season, Gila Ridge beat Kofa 50-41 at home in the final meeting between the two.
The win is a little extra special for Daily, who spent the previous four years as an assistant under Montialli at Kofa before taking the Hawks' head coaching job this season.
“It was quite the experience. The guy has been my mentor the past four years and taught me a lot about the game,” Daily said. “He's kind of an intimidating coach. He's tall and you think, I don't know about being on this side of him.”
“I'm glad to see he's doing a great job here at Gila Ridge,” Montialli said. “It's nice to see him have them competitive.”
While Daily said he thought a little bit about facing Montialli, the players say he kept a decent poker face.
“He seemed the same,” Weeks said. “Same old fired up.”
“I wanted it to be about the kids,” Daily said. “I tried to coach the same way. I did the same routine all day. I tried to not let it get to me.”
Kofa struggled from the field to start the game, missing their first eight shots and scoring their first points on a layup by Coronado with 3:29 left in the quarter. Regardless, the Kings actually led 11-10 after the first. Gila Ridge took a 17-15 advantage on a basket by Nick Frabasilio and led the rest of the way.
For Gila Ridge, this is the 11th time this season it has held a team to less than 50 points on the year.
“We're definitely a defensive team,” Weeks said. “That's really how we want to play.”