Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Flanked by her high school coach on the left, Roy Corona, and new college coach on the right, Angelic DePaulo, Pima standout Ashlynn Chlarson inked her letter of intent on Tuesday to play basketball for Eastern Arizona College.
By Jon Johnson
PIMA – The Eastern Arizona College Gila Monsters Women’s Basketball team received a local boost Tuesday when Pima Roughrider and 2A Conference Offensive Player of the Year Ashlynn Chlarson signed her letter of intent to play ball for EAC.
The Gila Monsters finished 29-2 last season and won both the Conference Championship and Region 1 Championship. EAC fell in the first round of the NJCAA National Tournament, 66-72, to North Dakota State College of Science, which hit 73 percent from the 3-point line for the upset victory.
On Tuesday, Chlarson expressed her excitement about joining the squad with her new coach, EAC Head Women’s Basketball Coach Angelic DePaulo, on hand.
“I’m really excited in getting to play at the higher level with such a great team,” Chlarson said. “It’s really exciting . . . I really like the coaches and the coaching style and the intensity they have.”
DePaulo spoke highly of Chlarson and said with hard work she could have an impact on the team.
“We’re very excited about Ashlynn,” DePaulo said. “It’s going to be a good thing to have the community involved and come to our games because she’s a local girl and she has a chance just like anybody else to come and to play for us because she’s talented enough to do so.”
Chlarson was joined by family, friends, and coaches old and as she signed her letter at a ceremony at Pima High School’s “New Gym”.
Chlarson was a four-year varsity player with the Roughriders and won back-to-back state 2A championships in 2021 and 2022 and led Pima to state runners-up in 2023.
Pima girls varsity basketball coach Roy Corona extolled on his joy of coaching Chlarson.
“Having her four years was awesome,” Corona said. “Having that size of talent, especially in high school
In the championship game, Chlarson led all players with 29 points on 50 percent shooting from the field and snagged 13 rebounds.
Corona congratulated Chlarson on her achievement but cautioned that the struggle ahead would be arduous.
“I know at college level she’s going to have to work really hard,” Corona said. “They’re a lot harder than me. My practices are easy compared to their practices. She’s going to have to work hard.”
EAC goes 15 deep on its roster and had three former Thatcher players, Olivia Lunt (20), Aubrey Pace (12), and Mia Carter (3) on its roster last season. Chlarson said she has been holding her own in the few practices and chances she’s had to play with the team and expects to make an impact as a freshman.
“It’s been going good and I’m holding up well, I guess,” she said.
Chlarson thanked her coaches, parents, friends, and teammates for their support.