Bray-Doyle Basketball

Sarah Justus dribbles to the baseline in the game against Apache Saturday night.

Ben Whitehead
The Duncan Banner

The past few meetings between the Bray-Doyle Lady Donkeys and the Apache Lady Warriors ended with Apache clearing its bench with a more than comforting lead at the end of the game. This time, it was a different story, but the end result was the same.

Apache claimed the girls’ championship at the 27th Annual Black Diamond Classic with a 55-48 win over the Lady Donkeys. Kayla Pahcoddy carried her team through the game with 25 points and was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament.

The first few minutes of the game saw both teams battle closely. An 11-10 Apache lead was quickly extended to 20-11 after Jordyn Stanley came off the bench hot, sinking her first two shots. Pahcoddy and Kassie Swanda also drilled a couple of shots during the run.

Bray-Doyle got right back in it just before the half. The Lady Donkeys went on a 6-1 run to close the half. Sarah Justus hit a big 3-pointer that brought the Lady Donkeys within six and Kendra Balthrop was fouled just as time expired while attempting a layup. She made both foul shots to make it 23-19 at the break.

“It was a game of runs and the atmosphere was certainly a playoff-type atmosphere,” said Bray-Doyle coach Jaicee Powers. “I thought we did a good job of staying calm and playing within ourselves.”

Apache came out firing in the third quarter, pushing its lead to 28-19, but Bray-Doyle’s Shayla Bingham hit a three to cut it back down to six.

After an Apache basket, Pahcoddy again made a big shot when she drained a three to give the Lady Warriors an 11-point lead.

The Lady Donkeys slowly chipped away at the lead. Justus, who scored 16 points in the game, scored seven straight in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 39.

“Sarah struggled in Thursday’s game so I was proud of her confidence tonight,” Powers said. “You could tell that she wanted the ball and she wanted to take those shots for us.”

Pahcoddy answered once again after Angel Harris missed two free throws. She crashed the lane and got the rebound and put-back. On the Lady Donkeys’ ensuing possession, they turned the ball over and Pahcoddy hit another 3-pointer. She scored another bucket to make it a 46-39 game and that deficit proved too big for the Lady Donkeys.

Down the stretch, the Lady Warriors pushed the lead to 10, forcing the Lady Donkeys to foul. A few missed free throws gave hope to the Lady Donkeys, but the shots would not fall when needed.

Beka Gates finished with 14 points for the Lady Donkeys and Balthrop added eight.

“Apache is a really good team. They’re solid all around and [Pahcoddy] is a really good player,” said Powers. “We are still getting better every game. They beat us by 26 earlier this year and to lose by 7 tonight shows our improvement.”

Notes: The All-Tournament Team was announced after the game. On the team were Sterling’s Brook Hardzog, Rush Springs’ Shelby Callihan and Chelsi Williams, Velma-Alma’s Hillary Tivis and Kaitlin Anderson, Bray-Doyle’s Gates and Justus, and Apache’s Morgan Whatley, Kassie Swanda and Pahcoddy ... Bray-Doyle’s Kendra Balthrop was given the tournament’s Sixth Man award ... and Apache’s Taylor Lindsey was named Ms. Hustle.

BDHS 10 9 13 16 48

AHS 16 7 15 17 55

BDHS — Sarah Justus 16, Beka Gates 14, Kendra Balthrop 8, Shayla Bingham 5, Shelbi Copeland 3, Kaleigh Stone 2

AHS — Kayla Pahcoddy 25, Angel Harris 8, Kassie Swanda 7, Taylor Lindsey 5, Jordyn Stanley 5, Kelia Pahcoddy 3, Morgan Whatley 2

- Ben Whitehead is a sports writer for The Duncan Banner. He can be reached at 255-5354, Ext. 165, or via e-mail at

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