Girls basketball: Titans sophomore takes spotlight

2013-01-11T00:00:00Z Girls basketball: Titans sophomore takes spotlightAndrew Cockrum Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
January 11, 2013 12:00 am  • 

When Darian Saunders and Alicia Jones graduated from Palo Verde last May, the Titans had to find a new player to replace the two star scorers.

Welcome, Sydni Stallworth.

The sophomore point guard is averaging 20 points per game - up 12 points from last season, when she was the Titans' third-highest scorer behind Jones and Saunders.

The attention that comes with being a go-to scorer has not fazed the 5-foot-1-inch guard on the court. Stallworth's aggressive play has allowed her to escape the defensive traps that the opposition sets for her each game. It has been a key for the Titans, who are 6-6 this season in nontournament play.

"She is faster than anybody on the court," said Scott Epstein, Palo Verde's second-year coach. "It's hard to double-team somebody that you can't catch. Some teams have tried a box-and-one (defense), but she has adjusted."

Here's a look at Stallworth's top four performances this season:

Nov. 24 vs. CDO

Stat line: 25 points, 11-for-23 shooting, 10 rebounds

How she did it: Stallworth recorded her second career double-double helping revive Palo Verde from an early first-quarter deficit to keep the game close against the Dorados. Still, the Titans lost their final game of the Boyd Baker Invitational 51-40.

Quotable: "I remember we started off kind of slow, but then we saw how we could compete with them, and then we started to step up." - Stallworth

Nov. 29 vs. Tucson

Stat line: 35 points, 9-for-18 shooting, 2 for 3 on three-point attempts, 15 for 18 on free throws, four rebounds

How she did it: Stallworth set a career high with 35 points against the Badgers. Her offensive attack also resulted in 18 trips to the free-throw line, where she knocked down 15 of her points. The Titans held a 20-18 advantage over Tucson at halftime but were unable to sustain the lead in the second half.

Quotable: "When I saw my opening to take a good shot, I took it, and when I saw my teammates open, I got them the ball, too." - Stallworth

Dec. 14 vs. Catalina

Stat line: 28 points, 9-for-22 shooting, 7 for 8 on free throws, six rebounds, eight steals

How she did it: The victory against the Trojans was Stallworth's best game from beyond the arc. She connected for three three-point attempts, including one toward the end of the first quarter to help jump-start the team, according to Epstein.

Quotable: "I felt like I was concentrating more than I usually did that game, and the shots just fell." - Stallworth

Dec. 28 vs. Casa Grande Vista Grande

Stat line: 30 points, 10-for-25 shooting, 9 for 12 on free throws, six rebounds, seven steals, two blocks

How she did it: In the Flowing Wells Holiday Shootout, Stallworth put up her second-highest point total of the season in an abbreviated game. However, Palo Verde lost to the Spartans 41-36.

Quotable: "It should be noted that the game only had six-minute quarters, because Vista Grande was late. So she scored 30 points in 24 minutes." - Epstein

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