AJHS Girls Topple Higley

Lady Prospectors Earn Difficult Road Win

By Daniel Dullum

A late rally helped Apache Junction snap a two-game losing streak, edging Higley 40-37 in 4A girls basketball on Dec. 14 at Gilbert.

With less than two minutes to play in the fourth quarter, the Lady Prospectors tied Higley 35-35 on a basket by Kaylee Smith. But the Knights’ Bianca Rodriguez sank a pair of free throws, putting Higley back in front at 37-35.

AJ took a 38-37 lead on Maya Richardson’s 3-pointer, and extended its lead to 40-37 on a field goal by Valentina Valenzuela. The Lady Prospectors finished the game with a 14-6 run, and outscored Higley 22-6 in the fourth quarter.

Richardson led AJ with 22 points, including seven 3-pointers. Valenzuela was next with eight points, followed by Shealynn Ballinger and Madonna Parker with four points each, and two by Kylee Vanwormer.


Two days earlier, the Lady Prospectors trailed early and never recovered in a 50-31 non-region loss at the AJHS gym

The Buffaloes employed a full-court press early, forcing AJ into numerous turnovers while building an 18-4 lead.

Guard CeCe Castro did most of the damage offensively for Tempe, scoring a game-high 22 points, with Sharon Perci adding 11.

Valentina Valenzuela was AJ’s top scorer with 11 points, followed by Kaylee Smith with nine, Maya Richardson with five, Madonna Parker with four and two from Kylee Vanwormer.

The Lady Prospectors are 3-5 overall.

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