Dobson girls basketball aiming for another deep playoff run - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Dobson girls basketball aiming for another deep playoff run

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Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2013 7:28 am

Katherine Hamilton remembers well the naive freshman who played varsity for the Dobson girls basketball team three years ago.

The Mustangs entered the 2010 postseason as the No. 10 seed in 5A-I but shocked the state by beating heavy favorite St. Mary’s in overtime for the title.

At the time, this girl didn’t know how big of an underdog Dobson was or how much pressure she was supposed to feel.

This girl, of course, was her.

“It was so surreal,” Hamilton said. “Since I was a freshman (at the time), I never had those trials and tribulations. For me, it was just another game. I didn’t know who St. Mary’s was. I didn’t know who they had on their team. Now that I look back on it, it’s like, ‘Wow, that was a memorable run.’”

Now a senior, she is fully aware of the girls basketball landscape and how hard it is to win a championship. The Mustangs made the semifinals as a No. 7 seed last season but lost by 33 points to the Knights.

St. Mary’s has been the dominant team in Arizona for the past three years. It has won two straight titles and heads into Tuesday’s first round as the team to beat.

Highland and Pinnacle are generally seen as two of the biggest threats to the Knights, but the Mustangs are laying low as a team that could do some damage.

Dobson is 21-6 overall and has only lost three times to Arizona opponents. Two of those losses came to the Hawks by an average of 3.5 points.

The Mustangs are the No. 6 seed in power points as of Friday afternoon and seem likely to secure a top-8 seed, which would earn them a first-round bye in the postseason.

Dobson may not be considered a prime contender, but as it’s shown twice in the past three years, it can’t be counted out no matter the seed.

“If everybody’s talking, I think they’re going to say, ‘Well, Dobson’s nice but they’re small. And they rely on the 3 and they rely on the press, and that’s probably not going to get them very far in the state tournament,’” coach Tyler Dumas said. “To me, we haven’t shot the ball well almost all year but I know we have great shooters. I’m thinking maybe we have a chance if we can hit some shots.”

Hamilton is committed to play at San Diego next season and is the team’s best player, but she is only third on the team in scoring at 12.3 points per game. Tori Lloyd leads the way with 13.1 points per contest, while Miyah Leith adds 12.4 points per game.

The unselfishness is a staple of the Mustangs, who work the ball around in the half-court in search of high-percentage shots. The difference this year is the tempo, as Dobson’s speed and lack of height has it preferring fast-breaks over a slow-down game.

The Mustangs have recently switched from a matchup zone to a pressing man-to-man defense, which makes play even more frenetic.

“When we played Highland and after the first quarter got down 21 to whatever, we went straight man-to-man,” Dumas said. “I guess I got smart and it’s like, ‘Ah, we’re really good man-to-man full court.”

Hamilton is the only player on the roster from the title team.

However, the experience of getting to the semifinals last season and playing at Jobing.com Arena can’t be understated. The atmosphere there is different, as is the backdrop. Dobson might be young, but it’s been through this before.

“The year we went to the semifinals, it was brand new to me,” Lloyd said. “It kind of shocked me. This year I’m more calm. It’s easier to play.”

Hamilton said it would be quite the accomplishment to end her career with a bookend state championship. But now that she’s wrapping up her journey, she wants nothing more than her teammates to experience the feeling.

“It would be nice to get another state championship, but I already have one,” Hamilton said. “I just want them to get one.”

And then she could help explain to the team’s seven sophomores just how much this means, even if they don’t quite understand it for a couple years.

 

Division I girls basketball state tournament

When: First round Wednesday; second round Friday; quarterfinals Feb. 18; semifinals Feb. 21; finals Feb. 23

Where: First two rounds at high seed; quarterfinals and semifinals at Wells Fargo Arena; finals at Jobing.com Arena

Division II girls basketball state tournament

When: First round Wednesday; second round Friday; quarterfinals Feb. 18; semifinals Feb. 21; finals Feb. 23

Where: First two rounds at high seed; quarterfinals, semifinals and finals at Jobing.com Arena

Division III girls basketball state tournament

When: First round Wednesday; second round Saturday; quarterfinals Feb. 18; semifinals Feb. 22; finals Feb. 23

Where: First two rounds at high seed; quarterfinals at Tim’s Toyota Center; semifinals and finals at Jobing.com Arena

Division IV girls basketball state tournament

When: First round Friday; second round Saturday; quarterfinals Feb. 21; semifinals Feb. 22; finals Feb. 23

Where: First two rounds at TBD; quarterfinals, semifinals and finals at Tim’s Toyota Center

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