February High School Hoops Frenzy: Six local teams lose

Head coach Steve Botkin talks strategy with his Sahuaro squad. Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com Photo.

Head coach Steve Botkin talks strategy with his Sahuaro squad. Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com Photo.

Not a good night for Southern Arizona. All six teams lost with all of the heart-breakers taking place in Division II where the three local teams lost by a combined six points.

No. 21 Ironwood Ridge (19-9) finished with a slim 44-43 loss at No. 12 Buckeye Union and No. 20 Canyon del Oro (23-8) lost 57-55 at No. 13 Kingman.

No. 14 Sahuaro (26-5) was the only team with a high enough seeding to host a first round game on Wednesday night. No. 19 Scottsdale Notre Dame came in with only 14 wins with key losses to Ironwood Ridge and CDO during the regular season.

It looked like Notre Dame was going to fall to another Southern Arizona team after Sahuaro sprinted out to an 8-0 lead with 6:08 left in the opening quarter. The Cougars expanded their lead to 17-6 with 6:53 left in the second period but then came sophomore guard Lauren Loven.

Loven hit three 3-pointers in a row while Sahuaro failed to score in the final 4:34 of the half to cut the lead down to 19-17 Sahuaro. Loven finished with a game-high 19 points, fueled by five 3-pointers, and her fifth gave Notre Dame a 35-25 lead with 50.1 seconds left in the third.

Sahuaro started to drive to the basket and they went on a 9-2 run to cut Notre Dame’s lead down to 37-34 with 5:26 left in the game after Elena Arriaga hit her own 3-pointer for Sahuaro.

Sydney Harden scored moments later and Sahuaro was only down 39-37 with 3:07 left. A chance to tie it with 2:13 was missed and it became a free throw contest. Down 44-38, Harden made an old-fashioned 3-point-play and Notre Dame was up 44-41 with 1:11 left.

Reazsha Benjamin came up with a steal, drove the length of the court and appeared to be knocked to the ground on her made layup but she drew no whistle, down 44-43 with 42.3 left.

Notre Dame only made one free throw out of four attempts the rest of the way and that allowed Sahuaro to have three tries at a win or a tie. Emily Phillips scored 16 points for Notre Dame and she came up with a huge steal with 12.6 seconds left to stop one of Sahuaro’s attempts.

Still, the Cougars had a shot with 6.3 seconds left and a last-second attempt but Notre Dame held on for the win.

Notre Dame will visit No. 3 Cienega on Friday night.

In Division III action, No. 23 Sahuarita lost to 10 Many Farms 71-25 and No. 20 Safford lost to No. 13 Chinle 51-38.

Junior guard Sydni Stallworth scored 42 points for No. 19 Palo Verde but it wasn’t enough as the Titans lost to No. 14 Monument Valley 60-53.

Eight Southern Arizona teams will play in D-II matchups on Thursday night.

Wednesday Results


First Round: Wednesday, February 19
19 Notre Dame Prep 46, 14 Sahuaro 43
13 Kingman 57, 20 Canyon Del Oro 55
12 Buckeye Union 44, 21 Ironwood Ridge 43


First Round: Wednesday, February 19
14 Monument Valley 60, 19 Palo Verde 53
13 Chinle 51, 20 Safford 38
10 Many Farms 71, 23 Sahuarita 25

Thursday Games

All games start at 7 pm

First Round: Thursday, February 20
9 Catalina Foothills hosts 24 Greenway
11 Sahuaro hosts 22 Sierra Linda
13 Cholla hosts 20 Canyon Del Oro
14 Buena hosts 19 Ironwood Ridge
15 Sabino hosts 18 Sunrise Mountain
16 Sunnyside hosts 17 Queen Creek

Friday Games


Second Round: Friday, February 21
3 Cienega hosts 19 Notre Dame, 7 pm
7 Flowing Wells hosts 10 Saguaro, 7 pm


Second Round: Friday, February 21
4 Benson vs. 20 Thatcher at Amphi, 7 pm
14 Bisbee vs. 3 Yuma Catholic at Copper Canyon, 5 pm


First Round: Friday, February 21
10 Desert Christian vs. 23 Ray at Prescott, 3 pm
15 Immaculate Heart vs. 18 Patagonia at Yavapai, 9 am
16 San Manuel vs. 17 Tombstone at Bradshaw Mountain, 7:30 pm


First Round: Friday, February 21
13 Tombstone vs. 20 Gilbert Classical at Bradshaw Mountain, 6 pm
14 Duncan vs. 19 Red Valley-Cove at Prescott, 4:30 pm
15 Willcox vs. 18 Phoenix Christian at Yavapai, 4:30 pm
21 Valley Union vs. 12 Tempe Prep at Bradshaw Mountain, 4:30 pm
22 St. David vs. 11 Red Mesa at Prescott, 7:30 pm

WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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