Morenci girls fall in heartbreaker to Hopi Bruins in play-in game

Photo By Raymundo Frasquillo: Morenci seniors Sabyn Martinez, left, and Krysryna Chavarria, right, battle for rebounding position against Thatcher. The host Eagles prevailed 53-34 Jan. 31, and Morenci lost its state play-in game, Friday, 52.51, to the Keams Canyon Hopi Bruins.

By Raymundo Frasquillo

Morenci drew one of the teams head coach Steve Chavez prepared the Wildcats to face, the Keams Canyon Hopi Bruins, but the Wildcats just couldn’t quite pull it out and fell, 52-51.

The Wildcats had been reviewing fundamentals following the regular season finale in Thatcher last week.

Other East Region members involved in games today included Pima losing to Many Farms at home, 49-39, and Benson edging Phoenix Horizon Honors, 48-47.

Five other games took place Feb. 10, Tucson Desert Christian lost at Chandler Prep, 40-30, Parker lost at Gilbert Christian, 49-22, Eagar Round Valley upset Phoenix Arizona Lutheran, 45-43, Phoenix Christian lost big at Whiteriver Alchesay, 69-35, and Glendale Prep lost at Camp Verde, 33-25.

State tourney pairings will be announced Sunday, Feb. 12, with the top 16 teams beginning single-elimination first-round play in the Prescott area Feb. 17 and concluding in the Prescott Valley Events Center Feb. 25.

Morenci outscored Thatcher 12-8 in the fourth period in their final regular season game against each other, but it was not enough as they trailed by 23-points after three periods of play. The Eagles won the region contest 53-34 in Thatcher on Jan. 31.

Results of the region contests during the final regular season week were wins for Pima (57-27 over Tombstone) and Benson (44-35 over Bisbee) Jan. 31; Willcox (41-39 over Tombstone) Feb. 1; Benson (60-58 over Pima) Feb. 2 and Thatcher (52-16 over Willcox) Feb. 3.

The Wildcats averaged a 48-41 (1,192-1,018) score per game or a 7-point margin through 25 games and a 51-36 (608-433) score per region game or a 15-point margin through 12 region games.

Tenth ranked Morenci (9-3 region for 2nd, 16-9 overall, 12-4 power ranking) ended the regular season 6-1 at home, 6-3 on the road, and 4-5 on neutral courts.

The other 2A East Region members finished the regular season in the following order, Thatcher (12-0 for 1st, 25-2, 18-0), Pima (8-4 for 3rd, 14-11, 11-7), Benson (7-5 for 4th, 13-13, 9-9), Bisbee (2-10 for 5th, 6-17, 4-12), Tombstone (2-10 for 6th, 5-19, 3-14), and Willcox (2-10 for 7th, 5-17, 2-14).

Morenci at Thatcher

Photo By Raymundo Frasquillo: Morenci senior Jadye Rivas (10) draws a double-team as she nears the basket against Thatcher. Rivas had nine points and six steals.

Morenci trailed by three, 12-15 following the opening period, but was limited to seven, second period points as the host Eagles added 14 for a 10-point, 29-19 halftime advantage.

A suffocating defensive effort in the third period held the Wildcats to three points and a 23-point, 22-45, deficit by the start of the final period.

Morenci had 10 field goals (one 3-pointer) plus 13-20 free throws compared to 20 field goals (three 3-pointers) plus 8-9 free throws for Thatcher.

Senior and Sabyn Martinez totaled 12 points on two field goals plus 8-12 free throws. Senior Jadye Rivas added nine points, senior Aaliyah Manuz six, juniors Ashley Castillo and Alex Chee both two, sophomore Ashley Hernandez two and senior Krystyna Chavarria one.

Chavarria hauled down 14 rebounds and Martinez 13; Manuz handed out 10 assists; Rivas had 6 steals and Hernandez made four blocks.

Thatcher sophomore Brooklyn Angle netted a game-high 19 points on eight field goals (three 3-pointers) and senior Hailey Greer 11 on five field goals plus 1-1 free throw. Senior Macee Bingham added eight points, senior Sarah Green six, senior Brianna McBride five and juniors Corinne Bryce and Alyson Wakefield two apiece.