Pima is onto the semifinals looking for a basketball state title

Photos By Jon Johnson and Steve Carter/Gila Herald: Pima boys basketball head coach Cliff Thompson and center Seth Russell have the Pima Roughriders in the 2A Boys State Basketball Championship semifinals. Pima defeated Trivium Prep 52-43 in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

By Jon Johnson


PRESCOTT VALLEY – The No. 2 Pima Roughriders are in the semifinals of the 2A State Boys Basketball Championship playoffs. 

The Roughriders got there by defeating No. 15 Veritas Prep 58-38 on Friday, and No. 10 Trivium Prep 52-43 on Saturday. 

Pima will next play either No. 6 Arizona Lutheran or No. 3 Rancho Solano Prep in the semifinals at Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix on Friday, Feb. 24. The State Championship game will be played Saturday, Feb. 25.  

Pima 58 – Veritas Prep 38

The Roughriders jumped out to a 10-2 lead and never looked back as they held the Veritas Prep Falcons to just one field goal on the way to a 13-4 opening-period lead for Pima. 

Pima continued its dominance in the second period, and after a Pierce Ashby block, Keegan Corona hit a 3-pointer to give the Roughriders a 21-8 lead. The Riders take on a couple more scores and went into the half up 25-8.  

Garrett Curtis led Pima with 14 points, followed by Seth Russell, who had 13 points and 13 rebounds for a double-double. 

Pima 52 – Trivium Prep 43

In the quarterfinal, Trivium Prep jumped out on Pima  with Kaden Bruggeman hitting back-to-back 3’s on Crimson Knights’ way to an 8-0 lead. 

But by the time Garrett Curtis hit his third shot in the period the Roughriders had tied it at 10-10. A couple of free throws gave the Crimson Knights the 12-10 lead at the end of the opening period. 

A big 3-pointer by Coy Miller knotted the game up at 15-15 with about 6 minutes left in the half, and another a few minutes later gave Pima its first lead, 22-19. 

Seth Russell hit his fourth field goal of the half, and Pima went into the break up 25-21. 

It was more Russell down low in the third as he asserted his dominance with 10 more points, but the Falcons kept it close with 4 points from the charity stripe and a 3-pointer at the buzzer as Pima led 39-36 after the third period.

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: Garrett Curtis brings the ball down the court after a steal in a regular-season game. Curtis had 12 points in the quarterfinal game and 14 points in the opening round.

So, Pima went back to its bread and butter and fed Russell down low, and buckled down on their defense. Russell finished with a game-high 20 points.

Grant Ashby got a quick lesson when he made a great defensive play in the fourth with a block but was then given a technical foul for taunting, At that point, Pima had a 9-point lead, 45-36. The tech gave Veritas two free throws and the ball. And on Pima’s next offensive turn Grant was called for an offensive foul and fouled out of the game with 3:36 to play.

Bruggeman then hit on an and-1 play to bring the Falcons within 4 points. However, the referees give and take and Bruggeman fouled out as well with 2:46 left in the game with Pima up 45-41.

Cool as a cucumber senior Garrett Curtis (12 points) then nailed two shots and Coy Miller sunk two free throws as Pima went up 51-43 with just over a minute left to play.