Bulldogs face No. 13 Lions on Tuesday, and No. 39 Titans on Friday

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: The Safford defense tries to make an interior pass difficult for the visiting Trojans. The Bulldogs defeated Catalina 66-26 during a South Region contest on Jan. 21. It was the fifth of six consecutive home games. This week, Safford hosts No. 13 Pusch Ridge on Tuesday, Jan. 24 and visits No. 39 Palo Verde Magnet on Friday, Jan. 27. The No. 10 Thatcher Eagles host No. 44 Catalina on Jan. 24.

Eagles vault to No. 10, host No. 44 Trojans on Tuesday

By Raymundo Frasquillo

SAFFORD – The Robert Abalos-coached Safford Bulldogs host the No. 13 Tucson Pusch Ridge Christian Lions as No. 26 on Tuesday, Jan. 24. Safford also visits No. 39 Tucson Palo Verde Magnet on Friday, Jan. 27.

Pusch Ridge is averaging a 51-32 (1,064-682) score per game or 19-point margin, Palo Verde Magnet a 30-51 (578-969) average score per game or a 21-point deficit, and Safford a 43-44 (856-881) average score per game or 1-point deficit.

Other South Region pairings this week include 2A No. 39 East Region Tucson Santa Rita at Palo Verde Magnet on Monday, Jan. 23; Tucson Catalina at No. 10 Thatcher and Tucson Empire at Tucson Tanque Verde on Tuesday, Jan. 24; and No. 44 Catalina at No. 43 Tucson Tanque Verde, Pusch Ridge at No. 33 Sabino, and Safford at Palo Verde Magnet, on Friday, Jan. 27.

In non-region pairings, Sabino is at 5A No. 35 Sonoran Region Sierra Vista Buena on Jan. 24 and 2A No. 3 East Region Pima at Thatcher on Wednesday, Jan. 26.

Last week, the Bulldogs succumbed 43-69 to Pima (Jan. 16) and defeated Empire 55-11 (Jan. ) and Catalina 66-26 (Jan. 21).

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Brynzee Hansen draws three Pima defenders as she goes up for a shot attempt on Jan. 16. The Safford senior netted a team-high 16 points. Defending are senior Ashlynn Chlarson (24), junior Madison Gann (15), and sophomore Sadie Richardson (22). Chlarson tallied a game-high 28 points, Gann 12, and Richardson four.

3A South Region Standings

Region standings through Jan. 21 were Pusch Ridge Christian (13-7 overall, 11-2 seeding, 4-0 region), Thatcher (12-5, 9-1, 4-1), Safford (8-12, 6-6, 3-1), Tucson Sabino (8-13, 5-8, 2-1), Tucson Palo Verde Magnet (3-13, 2-10, 2-2), Tucson Empire (1-20, 1-10, 0-4), Tucson Tanque Verde (2-13, 1-10, 0-2), and Tucson Catalina (0-11, 0-8, 0-4).

The remaining games for region members include eight for Thatcher (3 region); six each for Palo Verde Magnet (4 region) and Safford (3 region); five apiece for Empire (4 region), Pusch Ridge (4 region), Sabino (4 region), and Tanque Verde (5 region); and four for Catalina (4 region).

This week (Jan. 23-28), Santa Rita visits Palo Verde Magnet on Monday, Jan. 23; Catalina visits Thatcher, Empire visits Tanque Verde, Pusch Ridge visits Safford, Sabino visits Sierra Vista Buena on Tuesday, Jan. 24; and Catalina visits Tanque Verde, Pusch Ridge visits Sabino, Safford visits Palo Verde Magnet, on Friday, Jan. 27.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Lexi Lucas (24) goes up for a field goal attempt against Catalina freshman Ester Ngabire (55). The Safford senior totaled eight points.

In non-region pairings, Pima visits Thatcher on Wednesday, Jan. 26.

Next week (Jan. 30-Feb. 4), Eagar Round Valley visits Safford, Thatcher visits Saint David on Monday, Jan. 30; Empire visits Catalina, Palo Verde Magnet visits Thatcher, and Pusch Ridge visits Tanque Verde on Tuesday, Jan. 31; Gilbert Christian visits Pusch Ridge and Sabino visits Empire on Wednesday, Feb. 1; and Empire visits Palo Verde Magnet, Sabino visits Safford, Tanque Verde visits Palo Verde Magnet, and Thatcher visits Empire on Friday, Feb. 3

The following week (Feb. 6-11), Palo Verde Magnet visits Catalina and Thatcher visits Whiteriver Alchesay on Monday, Feb. 6; Safford visits Thatcher on Tuesday, Feb. 7; Queen Creek San Tan Foothills visits Palo Verde Magnet, Sabino visits Tanque Verde, and Thatcher visits Coolidge on Wednesday, Feb. 8; and Safford visits Pusch Ridge on Thursday, Feb. 9.

Region game results are Pusch Ridge (4-0) 47-42 over Thatcher (Jan. 6), 66-7 over Empire (Jan. 10), 70-4 over Catalina (Jan. 13), and 59-28 over Palo Verde Magnet (Jan. 19); Thatcher (4-1) over Safford 50-22 (Jan. 10), 67-13 over Empire (Jan. 12), and 90-12 over Tanque Verde (Jan. 18); Safford (3-1) 55-25 over Tanque Verde (Jan. 3), 55-11 over Empire (Jan. 19), and 66-26 over Catalina (Jan. 21); and Sabino (2-1) 62-17 over Catalina (Jan. 10), 48-25 over Tucson Tanque Verde (Jan. 11), and 42-28 over Palo Verde Magnet (Jan. 18).

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Brianna Camarena (34) elevates for two of her 11 points. The Safford senior was one of three Bulldogs scoring in double figures.

In non-region pairings last week (Jan. 16-21), it was Pima over Safford 69-43 (Jan. 16), Willcox 55-26 over Tanque Verde (Jan. 20), Tucson Canyon del Oro 52-44 over Sabino (Jan. 21), and Pusch Ridge 59-49 over Winslow (Jan. 21).

Thatcher (9-1 seeding, 7.8587 rating) was ranked 10th, Pusch Ridge (10-2, 7.5636) 13th, Safford (6-6, minus 0.6863) 26th, Sabino (5-7, minus 5.4543) 33rd, Palo Verde Magnet (1-10, minus 13.5088) 39th, Empire (1-10, minus 17.9973) 41st, Tanque Verde (1-9, minus 18.4282) 43rd, and Catalina (0-7, minus 22.8016) 44th.

3A State Rankings

The statewide rankings coming out of the weekend on Jan. 23 had the North Region with all seven teams in the Top 24, the East Region with 5-6 (.833), the South Central Region with 4-8 (.500), the North Central with 4-7 (.571), West Regions with 2-7 (.286), and the South Region with 2-8 (.250).

South Central Region Gilbert Christian (13-0 overall, 9-0 seeding, 17.8133 rating, 2-0 region) was first, North Region Kayenta Monument Valley (13-5, 9-2, 15.7719, 6-1) second, West Region Yuma Catholic (17-3, 10-1, 12.7841, 7-0) third, North Region Whiteriver Alchesay (16-6, 8-4, 10.4039, 5-3) fourth, North Region Fort Defiance Window Rock (16-4, 8-4, 10.0316, 5-3) fifth, North Central Region Phoenix Bourgade Catholic (13-3, 9-2, 6.6724, 5-0) sixth, West Region Parker (14-7, 10-2, 10.9519, 5-1) seventh, East Region Show Low (14-6, 8-3, 8.9526, 2-1) eighth, North Region Tuba City (13-7, 8-4, 7.7837, 3-4) ninth, and South Region Thatcher (12-5, 9-1, 7.8587, 4-1) 10th.

East Region Lakeside Blue Ridge (4-10, 4-2, 7.7842, 2-1) was 11th, North Region Chinle (12-7, 6-6, 7.7353, 4-4) 12th, South Region Tucson Pusch Ridge Christian (13-7, 10-2, 7.5636, 4-0) 13th, North Region Page (11-7, 7-5, 7.3663, 3-5) 14th, East Region Winslow (12-7, 7-4, 7.3480, 3-1) 15th, South Central Region Florence (12-6, 8-2, 4.6894, 0-1) 16th, East Region Payson (12-6, 7-3, 4.6478, 0-3) 17th, North Central Region Scottsdale Christian (8-4, 6-3, 3.3139, 5-2) 18th, South Central Region Chandler Valley Christian (14-8, 7-5, 2.9184, 3-0) 19th, and South Central Region Coolidge (8-9, 4-5, 2.7067, 1-1) 20th.

North Central Region Wickenburg (9-11, 7-5, 2.2056, 5-2) moved up to 21st, East Region Snowflake (8-10, 3-7, 1.9623, 3-1) moved up to 22nd, North Central Region Fountain Hills (8-7, 6-5, 0.6393, 2-3) moved up to 23rd, and North Region Ganado (6-10, 3-6, 1.1256, 0-6) 24th.

East Region Holbrook (7-10, 2-6, 0.4017, 0-3) dropped from 21st to 25th, West Region Kingman (6-6, 5-4, minus 0.3127, 5-2) from 22nd to 27th, and North Central Region Phoenix Northwest Christian (4-8, 3-5, minus 0.5010, 2-4) from 23rd to 28th.

Safford – 66, Catalina – 26

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Rennett Morgan (22) calls for the ball at the top of the lane. The Catalina senior finished with 12 points. Safford freshman Hannah Schade (44) defends against the pass.

Six Trojans were unable to prevent the Bulldogs from pulling away and getting a double-digit advantage in the second quarter.

Safford led 14-11 after the opening quarter, 36-24 at halftime, and 60-24 heading into the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs netted 29 field goals (two 3-pointers) plus 6-10 free throws compared to 11 field goals (four 3-pointers) by the Trojans.

Senior Brianna Camarena had 15 points on seven field goals (one 3-pointer), senior Brynzee Hansen 11 on four field goals (one 3-pointer) plus 2-4 free throws, and sophomore Marley Jurado 11 on four field goals plus 3-4 free throws. Senior Lexi Lucas added eight points, Heidi Zonnie seven, freshman Hannah Schade six, and senior Rene Holcomb, senior Jasmyn Rios, freshman Alexis Rope, and junior Camilla Smith two apiece. 

For Catalina, junior Vida Patterson contributed 14 points on five field goals (four 3-pointers), and senior Rennett Morgan 12 on six field goals.

Safford – 55, Empire – 11

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: A Safford spirit line member prepares to mount for a routine.

The Bulldogs limited the Ravens to single-digit scoring in three quarters and no points in the other one. Safford led 18-4 after the first quarter, 32-6 at halftime, and 49-6 heading into the fourth quarter.

Safford totaled 24 field goals (three 3-pointers) plus 4-8 free throws compared to five field goals (one 3-pointer) plus 0-2 free throws by Empire.

Camarena had 15 points on six field goals (three 3-pointers) and Schade 10 on four field goals plus 2-2 free throws. Hansen and Lucas added seven points apiece, Zonnie six, Rios and Rope four each, and Smith two.

Marley Jurado had 11 on four field goals plus 3-4 free throws. Lucas added eight points, Zonnie Heidi seven, freshman Hannah Schade six, and senior Rene Holcomb, senior Jasmyn Rios, freshman Alexis Rope, and junior Camilla Smith two.

For Empire, senior Audra Werner had seven points, and sophomore Addison Keeling and Adalyn Thompson had two apiece.

Pima – 69, Safford – 43

Pima exited Norma Bellamy Gymnasium with a 69-43 win on Jan. 16. The 2A Roughriders entered the game averaging a 52-23 (942-420) score per game or a 29-point margin. Safford was averaging a 41-46 (692-775) score per game or a 5-point deficit prior to tip-off.

The visiting Roughriders led 17-6 following the first quarter, 37-19 at halftime, and 47-29 heading into the fourth quarter.

For the game, Safford connected on 17 field goals (two 3-pointers) plus 7-12 free throws versus 24 field goals (five 3-pointers) plus 16-24 free throws by Pima.

Hansen paced the Bulldogs with 16 points on six field goals (two 3-pointers) plus 2-4 free throws and Schade 10 on five field goals plus 0-1 free throw. Camarena added eight points, Smith five, and both Lucas and Rios two apiece.

For Pima, senior Ashlyn Chlarson netted a game-high 28 points on eight field goals (two 3-pointers) plus 10-15 free throws, junior Madison Gann 12 on five field goals (two 3-pointers), senior Jaci McClain 10 on three field goals plus 4-4 free throws, and junior Ella Wiltbank 10 on four field goals (one 3-pointer) plus 1-2 free throws. Sophomore Sadie Richardson added four points, sophomore Adysen Hoopes three, and junior Lea Llamas two.