Girls’ Basketball Scorch the Cactus Jam


With barely any sleep after 14 hours of travel, the girls’ varsity basketball team proved resilient, finishing third in the Cactus Jam. This tournament is an annual event in Phoenix, with various divisions and both boys’ and girls’ brackets. It is the first time any SVHS basketball team has traveled out of state in 7 years.  

The team faced an initial setback as their flight on Southwest was canceled amidst national winter weather storms and mass cancellations by the airline. They were forced to scramble and find drivers and cars to transport them to Phoenix, Arizona get them to the tournament.

The team, after a 14-hour drive, arrived at their hotel at 6:30 am on the morning of Dec. 27, having to get up three hours later. After waking up just three hours later, the team ate and left the hotel for the gym. Working on little energy, the tired team amazingly won their noon game, by a close margin of 44-40.

The tournament featured teams from four different states: Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and California. SVHS’ first opponent, the Kentlake Falcons from Kent, WA, battled, forcing a tight game that ended in a 4-point victory for the Dragons. 

Next, the girls battled another Washington team, the Shorewood Stormrays from Shoreline, WA, proving a tougher matchup, as despite the Dragons’ best efforts, a nine-point loss was handed, 42-33. This moved the team to the third-place game on the last day, with a winning record in Arizona on the line. In this game, the Dragons faced the St. Mary’s Knights playing in their hometown of Phoenix. The Dragons ended up victorious, trouncing the Knights by 21, 49-28, and securing a third-place finish in the Cactus Jam. 

The 2-1 record in this tournament can be attributed to the months of preparation before the season, where the team was able to have ample time to build connections. With most players practicing and competing together on an AAU team, stellar team chemistry was built, fostering the success of the season.

Junior Siena Hoban earned all-tournament honors for the Dragons, helping lead the tight-knit group to their two wins. The girls continued their momentum into league, starting it off with a massive 50-point win against Napa. With the extensive prep they’ve undergone, alongside the momentum from the Cactus Jam, the Lady Dragons hope to continue the wins and keep improving on an already impressive 11-3 record. With the wins on their back, the team drove home, this time without any chaos.

After the hot start, the Dragons sit eighth in the NCS D3 rankings, meaning a chance at a home playoff game is on the horizon.