Blogs / Features
Don KetchumStaff Writer, AIA365.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Veritas hoops win is better than a warm bottle of milkNov 29, 2012
By Don Ketchum
Six-month-old Harper Waters is the youngest fan of the girls’ basketball team from Phoenix Veritas Prep.
She already has a passion for the game. She yells, she screams, sometimes due to an urpy tumm-tumm, and she giggles once in awhile. Her smile lights up the room.
She was at Veritas’ game against Tonopah Valley in Thursday’s first round of the Holiday Hoops Tournament at Phoenix Christian High.
Veritas is coached by Harper’s mom, Emily Tonn. Harper’s step-brother took care of her during the game. He did a good job. So did the Falcons, as they rallied for a 26-22 victory in double overtime.
Today is the second day of the tournament, with Veritas (2-1) playing two games, at 4:20 p.m. against Surprise Paradise Honors and at 7 against Pima.
It was a significant step for Veritas, in its second season under Tonn’s guidance.
Veritas is known as a volleyball school, with several championship banners on the wall and another from the recently completed season ready to hang.
“We’re definitely a volleyball school, but we’re trying to go in a basketball direction, too,’’ said Tonn, who played at Simpson College in Iowa.
Perhaps Thursday’s win will keep the ball of momentum rolling, and a winning season in a new home gym could get more girls to come out for the team in the future.
It also seems fitting that Veritas has a player named Passion.
In the second four-minute overtime, senior Passion Anderson took an inbounds pass in the lane, spun away from the basket and shot it softly through the net. She was fouled and her free throw completed the three-point play.
A baseline shot by Riley Pennington pulled Tonopah Valley (2-1) to within 23-22, but Veritas stayed in front on one free throw by Christy Baier with 1:31 left, another at 1:04 and a third with 8.4 seconds showing.
Some coaches take screaming at their players to new levels during timeouts, but Tonn seldom raises her voice. She appears to be constructive with her words, a teacher. She even has an iPad-type tablet to help her get her points across.
Asked what she told her players in the overtimes, Tonn said, “I talked to them about playing with a sense of urgency, and they did that.’’
So where does the team go from here?
“We want them learning something every day, doing what they need to do to get better,’’ Tonn said.
And maybe, just maybe, Veritas will become a basketball school, too.
Because as we all know, little Harper loves her hoops.