Monsoon Season: Valley Vista Girls Outlast Hamilton

Story by Andres Acuna, Video by Eric Sorenson 

The Valley Vista Monsoon girls basketball team defeated the Hamilton Huskies 42-38 in the 6A State Championship Tuesday evening in Tempe.

The game, which was played at Desert Financial Arena, featured a slow start from both teams, who feature two high-powered offenses.

Hamilton led 10-2 at the end of the first quarter as Valley Vista managed only a pair of free throws. The Monsoon missed all seven of their field goal attempts in the opening eight minutes.

“We just like to share the ball, we like to give people opportunities so the game’s fair,” Valley Vista head coach Rachel Matakas said in jest. “They came out and ran a zone. A matchup zone…once I settled them down they were able to figure it out.

Valley Vista helped Hamilton throughout the first half, most notably with 12 turnovers that led to eight fast-break points for the Huskies.

Hamilton was surviving against the height of Valley Vista’s paint defenders Marisa Davis and Saniyah Neverson, shooting 7-22 from the field at halftime and holding a 19-10 lead.

After halftime, the Monsoon turned into the high-powered offense that its fans are used to seeing, scoring 15 in the quarter behind Davis and Jennah Isai. The defense of the Monsoon also increased its production, holding Hamilton to a 21.4 shooting percentage throughout the third quarter.

“Once we started scoring, getting rebounds and getting really happy for each other, that just pushed our energy through the roof.” Davis said after explaining what sparked the third quarter rally.

The fourth quarter was back-and-forth action with both teams trading leads within the last two minutes of the game.

Hamilton fought back from being down four points within the last two minutes of the game, to tying the game at 38 with under one minute to play.

From there the game ended with the ball in the hands of the top two scorers for Valley Vista Tuesday, Marisa Davis and Jennah Isai.

Both Davis and Isai hit a pair of clutch free-throws to ice the game. Isai went 14-18 from the free-throw line, and each player finished with 18 points.

“We knew their strengths and weaknesses, and we knew we could go at their hips and beat them off the first dribble because that’s what worked well for us last game, we got a lot of fouls on that,” Isai said. “We were trying to get those fouls early.”