The Duncan Banner

January 8, 2014

Comets prepare for semifinals

John McKelvey
The Duncan Banner

VELMA — Velma-Alma dominated its first day of the Black Diamond tournament hosted by Rush Springs.

The girls started off the successful night with a 61-39 victory against Apache. Senior Ariah Johnson led the charge with 15 points, and the Comets never looked back as they took the first-round victory easily.

“When you’re in a tournament, you’re trying to get to the Saturday night finals, and you certainly have to win the first game to get there,” Bare said.

The beatdown was preceded by the girls having an off night against Rush Springs on Saturday. Bare was glad the team could play on Monday, because it forced the Comets to move on from their disappointing performance.

“They came out against Apache like a different team with a renewed enthusiasm,” Bare said. “I was really proud of the effort, because Saturday night was as poor of an effort as we had all season, by far.”

The good news is that the girls get a chance to redeem themselves against the very same team they struggled against earlier. Rush Springs beat Dibble 57-24 on Tuesday, meaning that the Comets and Redskins will face off on Thursday for a spot in the finals.

“It’s a big challenge for us to get to play them again, to show ourselves that we can do better than we did Saturday night,” Bare said. “It will be a tough game. They’re a good team and well coached.”

Velma-Alma boys basketball already dispatched of the Redskins in their bracket. For the second time this season, the Comets pulled off a victory against their northern counterparts with the final score on Monday being 62-41. The scoreline was a little bit deceiving as the visitors led 42-10 at the half.

Senior Jaz Gayanich led all players with 17 points in that first half. His proficiency from all over the court caused trouble for the Redskins as he made three three-pointers, but was also a presence inside.

“Jaz has always been a good shooter, but he is just now coming around and hitting more consistently for us,” Bare said. “Being able to step out is really a tough matchup for some people.”

That is because Gayanich has the body of a power forward instead of a shooting guard. Bare added that his increased range provides a double-edged sword to the defense with six-foot five-inch sophomore Jake McGuire waiting in the low post.

Junior forward Kelton Brown’s return from injury has also improved the team’s inside presence.