Navine Mallon leads Flowing Wells to convincing win over Lee Williams in 4A first round game

Flowing Wells’ Navine Mallon was chosen by 4A Kino coaches as the region’s co-Player of the Year along with Salpointe’s Taliyah Henderson (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Flowing Wells senior Navine Mallon can play either at wing or power forward, defend any position with her agility and rebound well against post players because of her physicality.

She can do it all, including outscore the opposition in a game.

That happened Wednesday night in the sixth-seeded Lady Caballeros’ 59-26 victory over No. 11 Kingman Lee Williams in a 4A state first round game at Flowing Wells’ East Gym.

Mallon finished with 29 points that included two 3-pointers, a couple of putbacks and many attacks to the basket, helping Flowing Wells improve to 20-8.

“I knew we had to be confident and just play because this is (potentially) our last home game,” said Mallon, who was chosen by 4A Kino coaches as the region’s co-Player of the Year with Salpointe’s Taliyah Henderson.

“I thought my team played really well together. We shared the ball. I feel like I did what I could and scored.”

Mallon can take with her to Westmont College at Santa Barbara, Calif., the memories of reaching the 5A state championship game the last two seasons and now another run into a state tournament.

Flowing Wells, classified to the 4A by the AIA before the school year, will play at No. 3 Glendale Deer Valley (16-7) in the quarterfinals on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

If the Lady Caballeros win that game and No. 7 Poston Butte upsets No. 2 Flagstaff, they can play at Flowing Wells one more time in the semifinals Feb. 28.

“She’s just a do-it-all kid, man,” Flowing Wells coach Michael Perkins said of Mallon, who now has 1,243 points and more than 900 rebounds in her career. “You can put her outside and set screens for her and shoot the 3.

“You can pound the ball inside and post her up. She just does all the hustle plays, grabbing offensive boards and putting it back. She’s just so smart; she’s in the right place at the right time. Man, easy to coach when you’ve got a kid like that.”

Even easier when talented kids complement her so well.

Senior post player Sydney Capen, who earlier this week committed to Wilmington (Ohio) College, had five blocked shots by halftime. She altered many other shots inside throughout the game, a significant factor for Lee Williams (24-6) shooting only 10 of 42 (23.4 percent) from the field.

Ayanna De Jesus, a power forward who added to Flowing Wells’ dominating presence inside, contributed nine points.

Flowing Wells set the tone for the entire game when it took a 20-4 lead late in the first quarter. Mallon had nine points and Lee Williams was 1 of 10 from the field with six turnovers at that point.

Sophomore Nevaeh Urenda, thrust into the starting point guard role this season, spearheaded Flowing Wells’ defense on the perimeter scoring most of her 12 points in transition off steals and turnovers.

Lee Williams finished with 28 turnovers, also more than its point total. That’s well over its average of 17.2 entering the game.

Urenda played considerably last year as a backup for Leamsi Acuña and she is using the time last year going all the way to the 5A state championship game to her advantage.

“I think it will help with my mentality,” Urenda said of her playoff experience. “If we’re ahead in the game, keeping the lead up. If we’re losing, kind of keeping the energy to kind of come back.

“Playoffs are a whole different game than seasons are. That knowledge from last year will help me a lot this year.”

Flowing Wells has the motivation to get over the hump after losing to Goodyear Millennium in the state championship games the last two seasons.

No Millennium ahead of Perkins’ team this time, but the Lady Caballeros have plenty of challenges ahead, including on the road Tuesday against Deer Valley (which went 10-0 in its region).

“I firmly believe in experience (in the state tournament),” said Perkins, who coached Flowing Wells to the 2007-08 state title. “Kids with experience know how to play. It usually gets you a deep run into the playoffs.

“Love the fact the kids have been there, they’ve felt the emotions, they felt the travel, the packed gyms, the different ball, all that kind of stuff. They are embracing it right now.”


ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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