Pima onto the semifinals in their quest for a three-peat 

Raymundo Frasquillo File Photo/Gila Herald: Jayci McClain brings the ball down the court in a regular-season game against Morenci. McClain had a game-high 13 in Pima’s victory over St. Johns in the state playoffs Saturday to put the Roughriders into the semifinals.

Will face No. 2 San Carlos in semis

By Jon Johnson


PRESCOTT VALLEY – The No. 3 Pima Roughriders are one step closer to their third consecutive 2A Girls State Basketball Championship goal. 

The Roy Corona-led Roughriders (12-0 2A East, 27-2 overall) moved into the semifinals with an opening-round victory over No. 14 Benson 54-29 on Friday and a 43-22 second-round win over No. 6 St. Johns on Saturday afternoon.  

Pima will take on No. 2 San Carlos at Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Friday, Feb. 24 in the semifinals. Get your tickets from GoFan here.

On the other side of the bracket, No. 5 Sedona Red Rock will have to beat No. 1 Phoenix Country Day to reach the final for the third time in a row. 

Pima 54 – Benson 29 

It was all Ashlynn Chlarson in the first half against Benson as the senior 2A East Offensive Player of the Year had 20 of Pima’s 22 first-half points. Chlarson finished with a game-high 28.

With the game tied at 6-6, Chlarson went on a personal 6-0 run to end the quarter with Pima up 12-6. 

It was more of the same in the second, as Chlarson continued to be the only Roughrider to score until the last points of the period scored by Lea Llamas, and Pima went into the break up 22-14. 

In the second half, the Roughriders began to hit their jump shots and stretched their lead. Llamas hit two 3-pointers to finish with 9 points, and Ella Wiltbank (5 points), Madison Gann (3 points), and Kelsi Brimhall (3 points) all hit from deep, Sadie Richardson (4 points), and Ady Hoopes (2 points) also got in on the scoring action. 

Pima 43 – St. Johns 22 

It was a physical, defensive battle and the first period and the entire first half was marred with foul calls in a low-scoring affair. Pima had just two field goals and led 5-2 after the first period. 

The second half was more of the same with a total of 18 fouls called in the first half – four on Pima center Ady Hoopes alone. Pima went into the break up 12-9. 

In the third Jayci McClain said hold my Gatorade and went off with 10 of her game-high 15 points to help Pima push its lead to 31-13. Pima’s defense held St. Johns to just one field goal in the third period.

With Ashlynn Chlarson (9 points) scoring in the paint and Pima hitting from outside with Ella Wiltbank (9 points) and Lea Llamas (9 points), the Roughriders continued to push their lead throughout the fourth until it was insurmountable as Pima roughly doubled up St. Johns, 43-22.