The No. 2-ranked Gilbert High School girls varsity basketball team earned its 18th-straight win against No. 8-ranked Pinnacle High School 64-45 to improve its overall record to 21-2.
The Gilbert Tigers’ were led by twin sisters Haley and Hanna Cavinder. The two juniors together combined for a total of 45 points, the same amount of points the opposing team scored as a whole.
Gilbert was up 29-20 by halftime, however by the end of the third quarter, the lead ballooned by 17 points, and after that, the game was never in doubt.
After coming off a one-point loss Tuesday night 62-61 against Desert Mountain, Pinnacle (18-5) planned to get its defense in position from early in the game to try and stop Gilbert, but ultimately fell short.
“We didn’t play defense worth anything, we let the Cavinder twins drive on us, they really disrupted us,” Pinnacle head coach Rick Bunger said.
Bunger said going into halftime he believed they were still in the game, but due to a lack of shot accuracy, Pinnacle fell short.
“As bad as we played in the first half we still had a chance and then we came out, and again, you got to hit shots,” Bunger said.
Haley Cavinder led Gilbert with 29 points, while her sister Hanna followed with 16. Junior Brynn Wade contributed to Gilbert’s efforts with 10 points.
Gilbert head coach Kyle Pederson expected a competitive game going in against Pinnacle. Going into halftime, Pinnacle had eight offensive rebounds which Gilbert adjusted to coming back out into the third quarter.
“We knew it was a matter of time before we could make them reach a breaking point,” Pederson said. “
Both Hanna and Haley Cavinder have already been offered scholarships from Division I NCAA basketball programs, including Denver, Fresno State, San Diego, LMU, and Boston.
“They killed it, they have really great chemistry together, they heated it up during the second half,” Pederson said. “Everybody did really well, but second half I think they really turned it on.”
The Cavinder twins consistently played with aggression and energy, which transpired throughout the rest of the team. Haley averages 22.3 points on the season with 9.3 rebounds, and Hanna averages 21.4 points, and 6.3 rebounds. Brynn Wade leads Gilbert in rebounds with a season average of 13.
“We had to keep our chemistry and keep moving the ball, because we knew if we kept playing our way of basketball, then they would break and that is what they eventually did,” Haley said.
Although it was a non-conference game, the game was important for Gilbert to prove its competitive nature and prepare for playoffs.
“I think as a team we really made a statement and physicality, so it really helped us,” Hanna said. “Individually, I just played my role.”
The Gilbert Tigers have another home game on Friday, Jan. 26 against conference opponent Desert Vista. The last time Gilbert played Desert Vista, Gilbert was victorious on the road with a 57-32 win.
“We were a different team then compared to now, so hopefully we can keep the momentum up,” Pederson said.