Salt River High School’s first year in the Canyon Athletic Association (CAA) was a very successful one for the Lady Eagles. They finished 18-2 in the regular season and even played in the CAA State Championship Game, held on February 23 at the Talking Stick Resort Arena.
The level of competition varied in the CAA, with the Salt River Lady Eagles and the Leading Edge Academy team among the toughest competitors. The Lady Eagles played Leading Edge twice during the regular season and beat them in one game, which was Leading Edge’s only loss of the season.
The Lady Eagles had a goal of getting to the state championship game. “We got there, and the goal was to win, but we fell a little short,” said head coach Dino Puccetti. “But the effort and commitment, especially from the seniors, was really outstanding, and everyone else just filled in their roles on the court.”
During the tournament, the coach also thanked and commended some of the eighth-graders, who had some nice plays during the game.
Puccetti explained how the Lady Eagles were a challenge for the other teams they played against throughout the year, especially with seniors Becky Briones and Tillie Miles. He said the team had a great inside game, and as the season continued the guards on the team really hit their strides.
“By the end of the year, I think we were playing our best basketball. Unfortunately, our last game didn’t reflect that. The girls [made] a very good team effort and they were always pulling for each other, which reflects their unselfishness,” said Puccetti.
Miles, the daughter of Sandra Cooper and Gabriel Miles and one of the seniors on the team, thanked her fellow players. “My team seemed very strong,” Miles said. “I thought we played very well together. I felt confident going into the championship game, but at the end I think everyone realized it was a new environment and different crowd. However, I feel like we accomplished a lot and got to the tournament, and I’m very proud of them.”
The final score was 43-22, with Leading Edge winning the championship for the fourth time. Salt River kept the score pretty close until the final period.