Camp is productive for Lady Phoenix

 

It was an offseason of refinement for the Tonopah Valley girls basketball team.

With eight players returning from last season’s squad, which went 10-15, splitting its final six games, coach Katie Fonseca felt she had a good nucleus of experienced returnees and wanted to fine tune the Lady Phoenix’s offense and defense rather than implement wholesale changes.

To accomplish this, Fonseca conducted three weeks of summer camp rather than play in a league or in tournaments.

“It was going to be difficult to get all eight returnees together because of committments, like vacations and work, so we decided to have a camp,” Fonseca said. “We worked out three hours every day for three weeks. We hit the weight room, worked on fundamentals and shooting. We wanted to make the girls more fundamentally sound. We scrimmaged, five-on-five and three-and-three.”

Participation was good, Fonseca said.

“Incoming eighth-graders attended the camp and I even had some seventh-graders,” Fonseca said. “I am pleased with the results we got from the camp from our younger players. The kids that did come out worked hard and showed improvement.”

Among the veteran players being heavily counted upon are seniors Danielle Colmone and Lauryn Jackson, and junior Angelica Ruiz.

Colmone, a guard, was one of the team’s assist leaders in 2012-13.

“She is our best all-around shooter,” Fonseca said.

Jackson is a versatile frontcourt player, capable of playing the small or power forward position.

“She can play on the perimeter or in the post,” Fonseca said. “She was our best all-around athlete last year.”

Expectations are high for Ruiz, who led the team in scoring and rebounding as a sophomore, averaging about 9 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.

“She is our best all-around basketball player,” Fonseca said of the 6-foot-1 post player. “She is very smart and versatile. She can play the 1, shoot 3’s and take the ball inside and bang.”

Ruiz’s size will hopefully play a key role for the Lady Phoenix, Fonseca said.

“We are going to look to use our speed and use our size to our advantage,” Fonseca said.

Challenging schedule

Tonopah Valley faces a difficult schedule, Fonseca said. Among the teams on the Lady Phoenix’s schedule are Yuma Catholic, Parker, Mohave Valley River Valley, Phoenix Northwest Christian, Wickenburg and Estrella Foothills.

“It’s going to be a tough season but we have good leadership,” Fonseca said. “With eight returning players, we should be pretty decent. We have eight seniors who have been in the program for four years. I’m looking forward to it.”

Tonopah Valley opens the season Nov. 26 at Phoenix Bourgade Catholic. The Lady Phoenix will make their home debut on Dec. 10, hosting Tempe Preparatory.

Mike Russo can be reached by email at mrusso@westvalleyview.com.