Kats close month with region loss to top-ranked Cats

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Duncan cheerleaders watch as the home boys fall behind 13-0 in the opening 4:05 of the region opener Dec. 21. The Dishchii’ Bikon Wildcats left Greenlee County with a 64-41 victory.

By Raymundo Frasquillo

DUNCAN – The top-ranked Dishchii’ Bikon Wildcats brought a 10-1 overall record (5-1 seeding, 5.8596 rating, 1-0 1A East Region) to Duncan on Dec. 21, with the lone loss being by 29 points, 78-49 at Fort Thomas on Dec. 7. The initial non-region pairing between the two teams in the Cibecue Dome resulted in a 65-55 win over Duncan on Dec. 8. The Wildcats had an average score per game of 60-51 (663-559) or a margin of nine points through 11 games.

Sixth-ranked Duncan was 7-7 (6-2, 1.6734, 0-0) with one of the losses being by 18, 55-37 to the Apaches at The Fort on Dec. 11. The Wildkats averaged a score of 59-46 (650-505) or a margin of 13 points through 14 games.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Duncan sophomore Tommy Hille draws a foul from Dishchii’ Bikon junior Jaden Sinquah as he takes a shot. He made 2-7 free throws and seven field goals for 17 points.

As the final buzzer sounded, it was not the result the Wildkats had anticipated. The visitors left with a 23-point, 64-41 region win.

Through 14 games, the Wildkats had a combined free throw shooting percentage of 55 (132-242) compared to 63 (156-246) for their opponents.

Individually, sophomore Jarrett French had a percentage of 82 (14-17), freshman Conlon Jensen 75 (3-4),  junior Chris Smith 71 (17-24), senior Wesley Conyer 70 (7-10), junior Lucas Basteen 57 (16-28), sophomore Tommy Hille 54 (37-69), junior Cliff Hansen 53 (16-30), senior Jay Garner 50 (1-2), sophomore Nathan Kempton 45 (5-11), senior Michael Lennon 39 (9-23), junior Steven Pierpont 32 (7-22), and Austin Bigler 0-2.

Senior Weston Skinner and freshman Gabriel Roybal had not attempted any free throws.

Duncan hosts Fort Thomas for a region contest Jan. 8, 2019.

Wildcats – 64, Wildkats – 41

The Wildkats matched the visitors point for point in the third period for a 13-13 outing, making 5-15 field goals plus 3-4 free throws compared to 2-18 field goals plus 9-10 free throws.

However, it was not enough to offset a 2-to-1, 32-16, first-half deficit.

Head coach Eldon Merrell drew a technical foul late in the third period, and two Wildkats were also assessed one each in the final two minutes of play. Merrell had to remind the vocal bench if he got a second technical, he would be ejected and miss the next game.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Senior guard Michael Lennon goes up for two of his 10 points against Cibecue on Dec. 21.

The visitors led 13-0, taking 3:12 to reach double figures after connecting on 3-6 field goals plus 2-2 free throws.

Duncan scored its initial basket with 4:21 elapsed in the opening period, missing eight previous shot attempts plus two free throws, and reached double figures, trailing 21-8, with 5:32 left in the first half. In the opening 10:28, Duncan made 4-23 field goals plus 2-6 free throw attempts compared to 7-19 field goals (three 3-pointers) plus 4-4 free throws by the Wildcats. The visitors also had a 14-12 rebounding edge in the same span.

For the game, the hosts shot 26 percent (16-61 floor) plus 50 (9-18 line) compared to 31 (17-54 floor) plus 79 (23-29 line) by the visitors. Duncan had a 42-41 rebounding edge.

Individually, sophomore Tommy Hille totaled 16 points on seven field goals plus 2-7 free throws and senior Michael Lennon 10 on four field goals plus 2-4 free throws. Junior Cliff Hansen added three points, and senior Wesley Conyer, juniors Lucas Basteen and Steven Pierpont, sophomores Jarrett French and Nathan Kempton, and freshman Conlon Jensen two apiece.

For the visitors, senior McCalvin Miller had a game-high 27 points on six field goals (one 3-pointer) plus 14-16 free throws, senior Isaiah Jones-Embry 16 on six field goals plus 4-5 free throws, and junior Roger Lupe 10 on three field goals (two 3-pointer) plus 2-2 free throws. Junior Corleone Dupris added three points, junior Lonnie Thompson, and sophomores Angelo Duncan and Cordell Narcisco two apiece.


Duncan (7-8, 6-3, 0-1 1A East Region) played eight seeding games previously, resulting in wins of 58-23 over Valley Union in Elfrida (Nov. 26), 83-51 over Bowie / San Simon (Nov. 27), 66-38 over Hayden in Winkelman (Dec. 4), 94-38 over the Academy of Tucson (Dec. 6), 70-30 over North Phoenix Prep (Dec. 14), and 63-29 over New Mexico Animas (Dec. 15). The losses were 65-55 at Cibecue (Dec. 8) and 55-37 at Fort Thomas (Dec. 11).

Additionally, the Scarlet and Gray went 1-5 during two tournaments participated in. The win was 64-42 over the Willcox Cowboys (Dec. 19) for seventh place in the 56th Eastern Arizona Holiday Tourney, while the losses were 86-49 to the Mexico Academia Juarez Lobos (Nov. 29), 60-56 to the host Cowboys (Nov. 30), and 52-48 to the Cimarron Rams (Dec. 1) at the New Mexico Cliff Round-up, along with 78-52 to the Thatcher Eagles (Dec. 17) and 56-45 to the Saint David Tigers (Dec. 18) at E.A.C.

Dishchii’ Bikon topped Hayden 85-43 Nov. 20, Joseph City 74-60 Nov. 27, in seeding games along with California Needles 74-54 and El Capitan 54-37 Nov. 29, Williams 51-45 and Flagstaff Basis 1-0 Nov. 30, and Ash Fork 57-55 Dec. 1 during the three-day Williams Route 66 Holiday Classic, before falling at The Fort.

Additionally, the Wildcats downed Duncan 65-55 (Dec. 8), Phoenix NFL Yet College Prep 84-74 (Dec. 11), and Gilbert Arete Prep 69-58 (Dec. 14), all at home.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Senior Christopher Smith uses a teammate screen to shed a defender as he gets across mid-court.

Wildkats – 64, Cowboys – 42

Duncan turned in a 45-18 second-half outing to finished in seventh place. The Wildkats trailed 19-24 at halftime, but a 19-9 third-period effort had the Scarlet and Gray ahead 38-33 after three periods, and a 26-9 final frame outing cemented the win.

For the game, Duncan made 25 field goals (four 3-pointers) plus 10-22 free throws compared to 12 field goals (five 3-pointers) plus 13-20 free throws by Willcox.

Smith tallied a team-high 15 points on five field goals (three 3-pointers) plus 2-6 free throws. French added nine points, Conyer and Pierpont eight apiece, Lennon seven, Hille six, Kempton five, Basteen four, and Jensen two.

Willcox senior Tanner DeBaun had a team-high 16 points on four field goals (two 3-pointers) plus 6-8 free throws and sophomore Cael DeBaun 11 on four field goals (two 3-pointers) plus 1-2 free throws. Sophomore J.J. Lunt added six points, freshman Rico Lunt four, sophomore J.T/ Garza three, and sophomore Lynden Smyer two.

Tigers – 56, Wildkats – 45

A 10-23 opening period outing helped spell defeat for the Wildkats as a 35-33 output during the rest of the game resulted. Saint David led 39-26 at halftime and 46-31 heading into the final period.

 Duncan totaled 18 field goals plus 9-16 free throws compared to 22 field goals (six 3-pointers) plus 6-9 free throws by Willcox.

Hille netted a team-high 27 points on 10 field goals plus 7-8 free throws. Hansen added eight points, Smith four, and both Jensen and Pierpont three apiece.

Saint David sophomores Kason Jacquez and Robby Gooding had 17 and 16 points on six field goals (three 3-pointers) plus 2-4 free throws and on five field goals (two 3-pointers) plus 4-5 free throws, respectively. Sophomore Reo Larson added nine points, senior Kaleb Watts eight, and sophomores Callin Curtis and Logan Davis along with junior Skyler Merrill two apiece.

Eagles – 76, Wildkats – 52

The Wildkats outscored the Eagles 15-10 in the final period, but it was not enough. An 8-24 start found the Wildkats playing from behind the entire game, trailing 25-44 at halftime and 37-66 after three periods.

Duncan totaled 24 field goals (one 3-pointer) plus 3-8 free throws verses 29 field goals (three 3-pointers) plus 15-20 free throws by Thatcher.

Nine of 12 Wildkats scored, but none in double figures. Hansen had nine points, Basteen and Hille eight apiece, Conyer and French six each, Pierpont five, Kempton and Smith four each, and Lennon two.

Thatcher seniors Cole Motes, Matthew Palmer, and Rulon White scored 21, 13, and 12 points, on seven field goals plus 7-8 free throws, on five field goals (one 3-pointer) plus 2-2 free throws, and on four field goals plus 4-5 free throws, respectively. Freshman T.J. Reed added nine points, senior Kason Crosby seven, junior Spencer Stevens five, seniors Trace Goodman and Michael Greer four apiece, and sophomore Jacob Ward one.