Moran added that he likes the way Walton’s Flagstaff team is playing and the direction of the team, giving praise to a number of Eagles after the game.
Even with the rivalry, Walton said, the players are still buddies when they get off the court — even if it can be a chippy game.
“Anytime we play each other we know it’s going to be a tough game,” said Walton, who once played for Moran. “There’s going to be a lot of emotions in it and both teams work really hard. The cool thing is they’re all buddies outside of this. It’s fun that they get to battle their buddies on the floor.”
Coconino and Flagstaff played each other close in the first quarter, trading baskets until Mcmenamin rattled off a 12-1 run on his own. He hit both of his 3s during the burst that put Coconino up 19-8 late in the opening quarter.
Flagstaff got it back to single digits at 19-13 to end the opener off buckets from Nick Morrow and Sylas Cherry.
Eagles guard Josh Lenners hit a pull-up 3-pointer to cut the Coconino lead to 26-22 early in the second quarter as the Eagles tried to fight back. But an Avram Tijerin baseline jumper ignited an 11-0 Coconino run that resulted in a 37-22 lead at halftime.
Coconino kept Flagstaff at bay the rest of the game, answering any and all runs. The Eagles had the lead back down to nine at 43-34, only for Coconino guard Mitchell Jacobson to get a steal and hit a pull-up 3 off a screen and roll with a minute left in the third.