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Arbor View girls earn first playoff berth

There was no big celebration, not even an announcement over the public address system.

In fact, until hearing it from an administrator and having it confirmed by their coach in the locker room, Arbor View’s girls basketball players had no idea what they accomplished Thursday.

Even then, the reaction was far from what one would expect from a team that until this season never had experienced success.

The Aggies, who never had qualified for the postseason, clinched at least a share of their first Northwest League title Thursday by downing visiting Durango, 49-34.

Ninth-ranked Arbor View (17-5, 8-0) will be the Northwest’s top seed for the Sunset Region playoffs, which begin Feb. 14.

“It feels pretty good,” Arbor View coach Donna Gentry said. “It’s all the girls, though. I had to go in and tell them because they didn’t realize it. I think they’re very pleased.

“We have high expectations, though.”

And those expectations prevented the Aggies from being overjoyed on a night when they didn’t play particularly well.

Arbor View made just 20 of 56 shots (35.7 percent) and committed 30 turnovers but never trailed.
The Aggies were 6 of 27 from the field in the first half but still led 16-7 at intermission because the Trailblazers couldn’t hit a thing in the first 13 minutes.

“We want to feel good about the win, but when you have a lot of turnovers and you miss a lot of shots, it’s hard,” Gentry said. “You still feel good about it, but it shows what you need to work on in practice.”

Durango (10-12, 6-2) began the game 1 of 16 from the field with 19 turnovers before Maria Rico’s drive to the basket with 2:40 left in the second quarter cut Arbor View’s lead to 15-4.

Durango twice closed to within two points in the third quarter, but a 3-pointer by Ariona Gill keyed a 9-0 Aggie run.

Gill drained two more 3s to key a quick 8-0 run early in the fourth quarter and remove any doubt. Gill scored 15 of her 17 points in the second half.

“Ariona has such good composure,” Gentry said. “She doesn’t show her emotions, which is good.”

Dana Lewis added 12 points and 16 rebounds, and Janae Strode had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Arbor View, which has no seniors on its roster and went 35-97 during the past five seasons.

“We knew it from the get-go with these kids,” Gentry said. “We knew we could be successful.”

Jazmine Chavez had 17 of her 19 points in the second half to lead Durango, which shot 13 of 58 (22.4 percent) with 30 turnovers. Chavez also added 13 rebounds.

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