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WEST VALLEY PREPS

Tiger girls roll past Notre Dame Prep to semis

Guiney scores 29, bench key as Millennium pulls away; rematch with Canyon View next

Posted 2/25/24

SCOTTSDALE — Elli Guiney said her Millennium Tigers’ Feb. 24 win at Notre Dame Prep in the 5A quarterfinals was a total team effort with contributions from everyone.

That’s …

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WEST VALLEY PREPS

Tiger girls roll past Notre Dame Prep to semis

Guiney scores 29, bench key as Millennium pulls away; rematch with Canyon View next

Posted

SCOTTSDALE — Elli Guiney said her Millennium Tigers’ Feb. 24 win at Notre Dame Prep in the 5A quarterfinals was a total team effort with contributions from everyone.


That’s high praise from a senior who scored about half her team’s points in a win.

The No. 7 seed Tigers’ 57-37 win over the No. 2-seed Saints put them in Tuesday’s 7 p.m. 5A semifinal against familiar region opponent Canyon View.

“What was so special about this game was that every role player and every single girl on the team was confident and willing to make plays,” Guiney said after her 29-point performance. “This game was a really good chance to see — big crowd, playoff environment — every player having confidence to make shots.”

Guiney managed her total despite Saints defenders keying on her, using different players to guard her in a variety of box-and-one looks. She missed her first two shots, with both teams struggling to get into a rhythm offensively early on, but hit three 3-pointers and had 15 points in the first half alone.

“They have good length, for sure,” Tigers coach Danny Soliman said about the Saints. “I knew we’d see some of those looks. Elli’s a tough kid, so you can try to deny her the ball, but her will is so much tougher. She’ll work to get open.”

The 5-foot, 10-inch Guiney, bound for UNLV, helped her Tigers (19-11) overcome some sloppy early possessions. Millennium’s defense was solid, especially early, as the host Saints (24-5) didn’t score until more than four minutes into the game.

Then, the Tigers took off, leading 15-2 by the end of the first quarter and by as many as 18 points late in the first half.

Millennium did an excellent job of getting in passing lanes and denying Prep’s entry passes. On offense, the Tigers moved the ball around a lot, eventually creating some clean looks for Guiney and a few others.

One of those others was Rihanna Bland.

After the Saints had whittled the Tigers’ 19-point, second-half lead down to 42-32, Bland hit a pair of 3-pointers midway through the fourth quarter that helped put the game away.

Bland finished with 10 points off the bench for the Tigers. Adiyanna Smith, Dashia Richardson, Jayda Hunt and Saliah Daniel all hit key shots at important moments in the win.

Ava Pautz, the Saints’ 5-foot-11, senior, had 17 points in her last game for Prep, making some tough shots. Freshman Ayla Keefe added 14.

The Tigers seemed ready and looking forward to seeing Canyon View again; the two teams split a pair of close section games this season.

“We’re battle-tested,” Soliman said. “We’ve been in every kind of big game, everywhere, and we’re ready for it.”

Saturday, Feb. 24
Class 5A Quarterfinals, at Notre Dame Prep H.S.
MILLENNIUM 57,
NOTRE DAME PREP 37
Millennium 15 14 12 16—57
N.D. Prep 2 11 12 12—37
MILLENNIUM (19-11): Elli Guiney 29, Adiyanna Smith 5, Dashia Richardson 5, Rhianna Bland 10, Jayda Hunt 4, Saliah Daniel 4. Totals 20-42 FG 8-15 FT 57.
NOTRE DAME PREP (24-5): Lexi Good 1, Ava Pautz 17, Lily McCracken 5, Ayla Keefe 14. Totals 11-38 12-15 FT 37.
Team fouls: M 20, ND 15. 3-pt. FG: M 8-16 (Guiney 4-6); ND 2-15 (McCracken 1-4). Fouled out: ND, Olivia Frankel. Tech: ND, bench.

We’d like to invite our readers to submit their civil comments on this topic.  Email AZOpinions@iniusa.org.  Jason W. Brooks can be reached at jbrooks@iniusa.org.