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Balanced Pirates open season with road win

MERLIN — Phoenix head coach Chelsea Winner is hoping that simply having more depth will result in more wins for the Pirate girls this season.

After one game, Winner already has some things to be happy about.

Anabell Delgado and Kyla Potratz scored in double figures and Ruby Rector nearly recorded a double-double as the Phoenix girls basketball team opened its season with a 44-28 win over Class 3A North Valley on Wednesday night.

Delgado finished with a game-high 14 points and Potratz added 10 points in leading the Pirates, who started fast on their way to building a 30-14 lead heading into the half.

“First game of the season, you want to come out and set the tone for things to come,” said Winner. “I thought we executed fairly well for it being our first game. It was a solid effort and a really a balanced one, too. I got to play my entire team tonight — which is something I wasn’t able to do last season. I was able to trust more girls tonight, and that is a good sign.”

Rector, a 5-foot-7 senior, finished with nine rebounds and eight points.

Phoenix (1-0) recorded 19 steals as a team, with a trio of Pirates — Delgado, Potratz and Kynna Nolan — having four steals apiece.

The Pirates limited the Knights (0-1) to single digits in all four quarters.

It was the Pirates’ balance that stuck with Winner the most coming out of Wednesday’s opener.

“That’s going to be huge for us, especially if we want to make a huge run in the playoffs — which is the expectation,” said Winner. “To give girls more breaks and not having to rely on two or three players and put all that pressure on them is big because being able to split things up and get a better rotation was our Achilles’ heel last season. This year, it’s almost a luxury after what last season looked like. We’re excited to get people breaks and we had a great summer league where the girls put in a lot of work — and it shows.”

PHOENIX (44): James 6, Nolan 6, Woodward 0, Mohamud 0, Vos 0, Delgado 14, Potratz 10, Shull-Bain 0, Rector 8, McConnell 0, Jacobs-Grigsby 0. Totals: 16 7-20 44.

NORTH VALLEY (28): Estes 3, Cooke 3, Wheeler 4, Kilborn 0, A. Godfrey 2, Champion 1, Aros 6, S. Godfrey 7, Brito 2. Totals: 11 3-13 28.

Phoenix 17 13 6 8— 44

North Valley 8 6 8 6— 28

3-point goals — Phoenix 5 (Nolan 2, Delgado 3); North Valley 3 (Estes 1, Cooke 1, Aros 1).

JV result — Phoenix won.