There were tears and dejected faces Friday coming off the America West Arena court, but the future looks good for the Seton High School girls basketball team.
The Sentinels reached the final four with two juniors and two sophomores in their starting lineup.
But it wasn't enough against bigger, stronger Springerville Round Valley, which held off Seton, 69-62, to run their record to 30-1 and reach the 3A state title game.
"We worked really hard all season and to make it into the final four," said Seton coach Karen Self. "We lost four seniors and I'm real proud of them. This is just incentive to keep working harder for next year."
Only Alana Wirth graduates from the regular rotation.
Her sister, Christina, tried to carry the Sentinels to the finals, scoring 36 points, including 16-of-16 free throws.
"Tina is amazing," Self said. "Nobody knows it but tonight she scored her 1,000th career point as a sophomore and that doesn't happen very often. The last person I know who did it is (Mountain Pointe graduate and current Stanford standout) Nicole Powell. She is amazing player."
Christina Wirth has 1,007 points in just two years.
The Sentinels (29-4) didn't play their cleanest game of the season, turning the ball over all night. But they still had a 24-22 lead at halftime behind 12 points by Christina Wirth.
But the Elks ran off 12 points at the beginning of the third quarter. Seton didn't score until the 4:31 mark and never got closer than the final score.
"The problem was we were making silly decisions," Self said. "So, we were constantly talking to them about the decisions we were making but it was like we were caught up in the moment."
But Seton also had to overcome Round Valley's Cassandra Ping, who was a thorn in the Sentinels' side all night, scoring 21 points, 13 in the second half.
Most of those were on drives from the left side.
KAYENTA MONUMENT VALLEY 75, TUBA CITY 51: Samantha Harrison scored 18 points, including five 3-pointers, to pace Monument Valley, the North's No. 1 seed, past Tuba City, the North's No. 4 seed.
The Monument Valley boys joined their girl counterparts in the finals, erasing a 19-point deficit in the process. Lance John hit a 21-foot, banked 3-pointer at the buzzer to lead Monument Valley past fellow 3A North Region member Tuba City, 59-56.
The Mustangs will face Globe, a 67-58 winner over Holbrook Friday, in the finals.