Morenci girls open with a 23-point win

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Morenci senior Desiree Babb (5) denies Ray junior Marissa Barragan (21) inside penetration. Morenci opened the season with a 45-28 win over the Kearny Ray Bearcats on Nov. 26. The visitors trailed 17-6 following the first quarter and 26-13 at halftime.

By Raymundo Frasquillo

MORENCI – The Albert Ortega-coached Wildcats opened their 2020 campaign with a 23-point, 48-25, non-region home win over the visiting Kearny Ray Bearcats on Nov. 26.

The Wildcats will face a stiffer challenge in their upcoming 2A East Region contest with Pima on Thursday , Dec. 5. The Roughriders enter Wildcat Memorial Gymnasium with a season-opening win over Fort Thomas and will have played Bisbee on Dec. 3.

Morenci – 48, Ray – 25

The Wildcats had a 20-9 advantage mid-way into the second period before the visitors reached double digits, on 1-2 Chelsea Boyd-Flores free throws.

Morenci had double-digit scoring in three of four quarters compared to none by the 1A South visitors. The Wildcats led 17-6 following the opening quarter, 26-13 at halftime, and 38-17 heading into the fourth quarter.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Zenayah Cortez turns into the basket for a high percentage shot attempt. The Morenci sophomore netted a game-high 16 points.

For the game, Morenci totaled 17 field goals (one 3-pointer) plus 13-24 free throws compared to 10 field goals plus 5-11 free throws for the visitors.

Morenci’s defensive pressure accounted for 10 turnovers in the first half, including a 5-second inbound pass violation. The Bearcats totaled 12 turnovers and the Wildcats 11 on the night.

The Wildcats’ starting inside players, sophomores Zenayah Cortez and Juliauna Forgach-Aguilar plus junior Destanee Marquez, accounted for all of the 17 first-quarter points and 33 of the team’s 48. Cortez ended with a game-high 16 points on six field goals plus 4-8 free throws. Aguilar had 9 points and Marquez had 8.

Senior Brigid Silvester added 7 points, sophomore Devanie Medina 4 and both seniors Reona Alvarez and Sarina Robledo had 2 points each.

Six Bearcats contributed to the scoring total, none in double figures. Juniors Flores, Emma Stuart, Marissa Barragan, and Charity Kelly had 7, 5, 4, and 4, respectively, senior Emiley Rutter had 4, and freshman Brianna Goad finished with 1 point.