February Hoops Frenzy: Cienega boys to semifinal round


Shane Burton. Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com Photo

Shane Burton. Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com Photo

No. 4 Cienega outlasted No. 12 Gilbert Christian 62-54 to advance to the Division II state semifinals. The Bobcats (25-5) will be playing No. 8 Phoenix Shadow Mountain (27-3) on Thursday night.

Senior standout Shane Burton scored 16 points in the game and hit six free throws down the stretch to show why he is one of the top point guards in the state.

Cienega led 27-17 at the half but found themselves up only 52-49 with 2:30 left in the game due mostly to turnovers across the top of the key that led to easy points and 3-pointers for Gilbert Christian (21-10).

The blocking and defense of junior standout Daren Briggs helped stall Gilbert Christian’s comeback bid. Briggs also finished with 10 points.

Cienega wasn’t the only D-II team from Southern Arizona to give up a lead.

The No. 1 Salpointe boys were up 46-40 on Shadow Mountain entering the fourth quarter but gave up 35 points in the final eight minutes to lose the quarterfinal game 75-66.

The Lancers were still up 55-52 with just under four minutes left but Cameron Denson played most of the game with four fouls and he picked up his fifth with about two minutes left.

To their credit, the Lancers also put up 20 points in the final period but it was not enough to help the team return to the finals. Denson finished with 16, Hunter Lowry scored a team-high 18 and Thomas McEvoy added 17.

Besides future University of Arizona football recruit Denson, the game featured former Wildcat and NBA standout and Shadow Mountain coach Mike Bibby and his son Michael Bibby.

J.J. Rhymes scored 25 (23 in the second half), Carlos Johnson had 24 and Bibby had 16 for Shadow Mountain.

Cienega is led by junior big-man Terrence Johnson and his 15 points a game. The Bobcats will need to limit lazy passes across the top of the key and hold back on fouling shooters behind the 3-point line against Shadow Mountain.

Both the girls and the boys of Cienega will be playing in their first semifinals in school history on Thursday at the Jobing.com Arena.

It was a very bad day for Southern Arizona teams in Division III.

The No. 4 Benson boys lost to No 5 Show Low 61-48, the No. 3 Pusch Ridge girls fell to No. 6 Estrella Foothills 44-34 and the No. 5 Thatcher girls lost to No. 4 Window Rock 52-45.

Sean Brogan led Benson (26-5) with 18 points and Dante Britton had 10.

Pusch Ridge (25-6) failed to score in the final 4:45 of their game and Estrella Foothills (24-5) put up 11 points in the stretch for the upset win. Moriah Roters led Pusch Ridge with 15 points.

Kristie Baldwin led Thatcher with 15 points.

There are now eight teams from Southern Arizona remaining in the state playoffs from Division II and IV.

Wednesday’s Results


Quarterfinals: Wednesday, February 26
8 Shadow Mountain 75, 1 Salpointe Catholic 66
4 Cienega 62, 12 Gilbert Christian 54


Quarterfinals: Wednesday, February 26
5 Show Low 61, 4 Benson 48


Quarterfinals: Wednesday, February 26
6 Estrella Foothills 44, 3 Pusch Ridge 34
4 Window Rock 52, 5 Thatcher 45

Thursday’s Games


Semifinals: Thursday, February 27
4 Cienega vs. 8 Shadow Mountain at Jobing.com, 7:45 pm


Semifinals: Thursday, February 27
3 Cienega vs. 10 Saguaro at Jobing.com at 2:30 pm


Quarterfinals: Thursday, February 27
4 Desert Christian vs. 12 Tempe Prep at Tim’s Toyota Center, 10:30 am
14 Duncan vs. 6 St. Johns at Tim’s Toyota Center, 1:30 pm


Quarterfinals: Thursday, February 27
1 Valley Union vs. 8 Duncan at Tim’s Toyota Center, 6 pm
2 St. Gregory vs. 7 St. David at Tim’s Toyota Center, 3 pm

Please contact me at amoralesmytucson@yahoo.com


Thanks to Dave Dulberg of ArizonaVarsity.com for game scores.

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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