Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: The newly refreshed “Welcome to Pima” billboard on the town’s east side has been updated to honor its back-to-back 2A State Championship Girls Basketball teams.
By Jon Johnson
PIMA – Those traveling westbound on U.S. Highway 70 through Pima will have no doubt who currently holds the state bragging rights for girls 2A basketball.
The Pima Girls Basketball team has been immortalized on a “Welcome to Pima” billboard in recognition of its back-to-back 2A Girls State Basketball Championships in 2021 and 2022.
The “Welcome to Pima” billboards were initially installed/updated in 2005 on the east and west sides of town and then got a makeover in 2014 while being sponsored by local businesses.
The team photo is located on the billboard on the east side of town, while the billboard on the west side of town is still the same but in better condition, than its twin was.
Pima earned its last two championships by defeating Sedona Red Rock each time. In 2021, the Roughriders were down 1 in overtime when Aubrie Sherwood hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with literally one-tenth of a second on the clock to snatch the victory, 50-48.
The teams matched up again in 2022 with the result coming down to the wire yet again. Sedona’s superb sophomore Rachel Roderick – the 2A Central Region Player of the Year gathered a rebound with only seconds left in the game and took the rock coast-to-coast. With about 6 seconds left she ran into Saydee Allred – the 2A East Region Player of the Year – defending at about the free-throw line. Roderick lost a high dribble and Allred poked the ball free to teammate Ashlynn Chlarson, who then passed it back to Allred. The senior guard headed down the court while watching the clock tick down to zero and began to celebrate as Pima repeated as 2A State Girls Basketball Champions, 38-36 over Sedona Red Rock.
The town of Pima and Pima Booster Club sponsored the banner and it was installed by Frecklebarn. The Roughriders are coached by Roy Corona, with assistant coaches David Allred and Stephanie Hoopes.