Pima girls basketball finish as runner-up in Round Valley Shootout

Screenshot: The Pima girls basketball team finished as runner-up in the Round Valley Roundball Shootout.

By Jon Johnson


EAGAR – It was back-and-forth all game as the Pima Roughriders girls basketball team went north to Eagar, Round Valley, and came home as the runners-up in the Round Valley Roundball Shootout, falling 39-43 to 3A Alchesay in the championship game on Saturday.  

In the opening round, Pima defeated Rock Point 21-11 (running 12-minute clock game due to Rock Point arriving late and forfeiting the match). Pima then beat Holbrook 66-34 in round two; Pima beat Blue Ridge 51-18 in round three, and Leading Edge Gilbert 56-36 in the quarterfinals. 

Pima then took on host Round Valley in the semifinals and won 47-19 Saturday morning, putting the Roughriders in the Championship game Saturday night against the 3A Alchesay Falcons. 

Alchesay reached the finals by defeating Mogollon 54, 23 in round 1; Alchesay beat Joseph City 52-29 in round two; The Falcons were victorious over the Fort Thomas Apaches 55-35 in round three; Alchesay defeated St. Johns in the quarterfinals and beat San Carlos in the semifinals 49-38. 

Alchesay 43 Pima 39

Contributed Photo: The Alchesay Falcons were crowned the Round Valley Roundball Shootout Champions with a 43-39 victory over the Pima Roughriders.

The championship game of the Round Valley tournament featured a state playoff-type atmosphere with a crowd overwhelmingly in favor of the closer-school Falcons. 

The game featured five ties and seven lead changes, with Pima leading most of the game. Alchesay didn’t have an answer for Ashlynn Chlarson down low, but it tried to stop her from ever getting the ball through a full-court press that doubled the ball each time. The Roughriders were uneasy with the pressure defense and turned the ball over multiple times, leading to easy fast-break layups that kept Alchesay in the game and, ultimately, pulled it out for them.  

Alchesay struck first on an open layup, but Pima hit on three consecutive shots to put them up 7-2 just 2 minutes into the game. 

Just as it looked like Pima was going to open up a nice lead, Alchesay’s full-court pressure caused some steals and brought them right back in it tied 10-10 after the first period. 

Alchesay pulled ahead early in the second, but field goals by Chlarson and Ella Wiltbank brought the Roughriders right back, and by halftime, Pima was up 24-20. 

In the third, Pima opened up an 8-point lead and was up 28-20 when Alchesay got three offensive rebounds on one trip to eventually score. The Falcons swarming defense then forced three steals and scores to bring them back, but Chlarson hit a big and-one play to help keep the Roughriders up 34-30 at the end of the third. 

Jayci McClain scored early in the fourth to put Pima up 36-30, but then the Roughriders had a series of calls go against them, including an offensive call against McClain as she went for a layup and Chlarson getting mugged down low multiple times with no call. 

The ref-inspired turnovers assisted Alchesay in climbing back into the game and tying it up at 36-36 with 4:17 left on the clock. 

Pima nailed a 3-pointer but it was answered with a big 3-pointer from Alchesay after the Falcons stole an inbounds pass and it was 39-39 with 2:40 left in the game. 

Pima then had its most costly turnover of the game and on the ensuing in-bounds play and Alchesay scored on an extremely odd-looking layup in which if one slowed the video down one might be able to see the player actually has luggage and a plane ticket. Yes, it looked like an obvious travel that was not called. The points were good and Alchesay took its first lead of the fourth period, 41-39. 

Then the Falcons then held the ball for the rest of the game without attempting to score. This year is the beginning of a shot clock in 3A and up for Arizona basketball but was not in use for this tournament, allowing the Falcons to sit on the ball for 2 minutes without attempting a shot. 

Pima had to foul multiple times to get Alchesay to the foul line, and the player made both shots to seal the victory, 43-39. 

Pima (6-1) will next host the Tombstone Yellow Jackets on Tuesday, Dec. 13, starting at 5:30 p.m.