Originally published Saturday, January 27, 2018 at 01:50p.m.

Camp Verde boys basketball couldn’t hold onto its lead and fell to Sedona Red Rock at home in a feisty rivalry game.

The No. 11 Scorpions beat the No. 28 Cowboys 67-49 on Friday night. The Cowboys led 12-6 after one quarter and by 10 just before halftime but in the third Sedona Red Rock built a double-digit lead when they outscored Camp Verde 30-12.

“We played very well defensively in the first half, very well, probably the best we played all year, defensively just as a group,” said CV head coach Daniel Wall. “The pressure hurt us, in the third quarter particularly, turned it over a ton of times and that was difficult but we came back and we fought really hard and before everything kind of blew up out there, we cut it to 10 right there.”

The Cowboys nearly got the deficit down to single digits but the Scorpions capitalized on a sequence where Camp Verde sophomore Jason Collier was ejected after leaving the bench during a scuffle under the Sedona Red Rock basket. A fan in the Scorpions’ section was also escorted out.

Collier will be suspended for the Cowboys’ last home game, against No. 3 Paradise Honors on Tuesday.

Wall said the sequence hurt Camp Verde as the Scorpions scored on the free throws and then after a Cowboy miss, scored again to get the lead to 16.

“That’s what I told them: ‘we got to be able to poised and handle ourselves in those potentially explosive situations’ and we didn’t do a good job of that, which is a bummer,” Wall said. “But very, very pleased with how we fought, how we competed after having a pretty rough third quarter.”

With 3:52 left in the game, the Cowboys cut the lead to 57-44 and narrowly was outscored, 18-14 in the fourth quarter. The Scorpions won the game in Sedona 69-51.

Although the Cowboys lost 66-46 on Thursday at Joy Christian, they had won three in a row before that. They beat No. 26 Glendale Prep 56-49 on the road, Chino Valley 72-66 and Northland Prep 55-52.

Wall said the Cowboys had been playing a lot better overall.

“They’re starting to figure things out better offensively, playing with a little more, (laughs) until (Friday) night, we were playing a little bit slower, more patiently, able to run some sets,” Wall said. “You got to hand it to Sedona, their pressure definitely sped us up (Friday) night. It’s tough, they do a really good job of getting you out of the rhythm that you would like to play in, they did a good job of that but before that I feel like we were doing a better job of getting the shots that we want to get, playing at the pace that we wanted to play at, so happy with how they’re growing.”

Sophomore Abe Gonzalez and junior Nick Stone led the way for the Cowboys with 10 points apiece.

Up next for the Cowboys is senior night on Tuesday when they host Paradise Honors at 7 p.m. The Panthers are 17-0 in power point games and beat CV 84-47 at home.

The loss drops Camp Verde’s record in the rivalry series to 10-15 since 2004.

“The kids they all want to beat Sedona and the kids at Sedona all want to beat Camp Verde, it’s a really fun thing,” Wall said. “I think there’s a lot of energy there, a lot of emotions and so what we’re talking to our kids about is just controlling that and funneling that into positive things. It’s tough, but a really fun rivalry, really fun.”

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