No. 9 Gilbert runs past No. 8 Williams Field, advances to Open quarterfinal

February 15, 2024 by Ben Stapley, AZPreps365

Williams Field guard Savanah Horton (#12) looks for an open teammate as Gilbert’s Leila Josey defends.

On tournament 'paper', Williams Field was the higher seed playing at home Thirsday night. On the court, Gilbert was was the dominant team, overwhelming Williams Field inside and out, as the Tigers ran away with a 63-34 victory in a second round Open Division playoff contest. Gilbert moves on to the quarterfinals next Thursday night, when they do battle with No. 1 seed Hamilton.

Freshman Caia Campbell led the Tigers with 23 points and senior Meisha Caserio scored 16, as Gilbert (24-4) demonstrated its depth and defensive capabilities.

"We felt we should've been seeded a little higher, but all we can do is prove it on the court, so we may have felt some extra motivation," said junior Leila Josey, referencing Gilbert's outstanding regular season. The Tigers' resume includes a win over third-seeded Salpointe, a 59-55 loss to No. 2 Xavier and an overtime loss to No. 1 Hamilton. The other two setbacks came to No. 4 Desert Vista in region play. Somehow, the power rankings spit the Tigers out at No. 9.

Regardless, Gilbert has a shot at making more postseason noise, especially if it keeps playing with balance and swarming defense, as was the case Thursday night.

The score was tied 7-7 five minutes into the game before Gilbert went on a 15-0 run to finish the first quarter. Three-pointers from Caserio and Campbell sparked the run, as did the inside game and defensive effort. The momentum carried over the rest of the night, as Gilbert took a 32-14 lead into halftime, and led by as many as 33 points in the third quarter.

"I thought this was one of our better defensive games tonight, at least in the half court," Gilbert coach Colton Walker said of Thursday night's performance. "We knew coming in that we could guard every action Williams Field might throw at us. I also thought it was electrifying the way we shared the ball tonight offensively."

Eight different players scored for Gilbert, including Josey and Morgan Evanson combining for 13 points. Aspen McClees led the team in scoring during the regular season, scored five points but got plenty of work done in the paint with seven rebounds and four assists.

"It's hard to guard a team when everyone is a threat and willing to move the basketball," Walker added.

"Hamilton poses alot of issues with their size and the way they can defend, but I have no doubt we'll be ready."

Latoya Brooks scored 12 points for Williams Field (20-8), who will integrate into the 5A playoff tournament next week. Sophia Carnes added nine points for the Black Hawks, but they were never able to find an offensive rhythm.


Ben Stapley is a staff writer for For human-interest story ideas and related high-school sports news, contact him at or 480 295-9125