Region leading Wildkats tangle with Apaches in Fort Thomas on Tuesday

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Duncan junior Jarrett French dialed long distance eight seconds into the game with Valley Union. The Wildcats led for 28 minutes of the game. The visitors took the lead for good with 3:37 remaining and left with a non-region win. Duncan’s next home game is a region pairing with Arete Prep on Jan. 17.

By Raymundo Frasquillo

FORT THOMAS – Sixth-ranked Duncan (6-2 seeding, 4.8504 rating) visits No. 4 Fort Thomas (7-1, 7.7216) for a region pairing Tuesday, Jan. 14. The Apaches debuted at No. 5 (5-1, 6.7470) of 34 1A teams and the Wildkats at No. 7 (4-1, 1.2514) during the initial rankings Jan. 7.

The Wildkats (11-4 overall, 3-0 region) are currently perched atop the 1A East Region while Fort Thomas (13-4, 2-0) is second. The Apaches topped the Wildkats 65-37 in Duncan during a non-region contest Dec. 12.

Duncan is also at Tucson Immaculate Heart on Wednesday, Jan. 15 before welcoming Gilbert Arete Prep for a region pairing Friday, Jan. 17.

The other region pairings this week are Hayden at Arete Prep, North Phoenix Prep at Superior, and Kearny Ray at NFL Yet on Tuesday, Jan. 14; Arete Prep at NFL Yet on Wednesday, Jan. 15; Winkelman Hayden at Superior on Thursday, Jan. 16; NFL Yet at North Phoenix Prep and Ray at Hayden on Friday, Jan. 17; and Cibecue at Ray on Saturday, Jan. 18.

Non-region contests include Saint David at NFL Yet Jan. 13, Sells Baboquivari at Fort Thomas and North Phoenix Prep at Phoenix Basis Jan. 16, Phoenix Arizona Lutheran at Superior Jan. 17, and Saint Michaels at Fort Thomas Jan. 18.

The rest of the region standings are Arete Prep third (1-0), Phoenix NFL Yet fourth (1-1), North Phoenix Prep fifth (1-2), Superior sixth (0-1), Hayden seventh (0-1), Ray eighth (0-1), and Cibecue ninth (0-2).

Rankings of the other region members are No. 8 for Phoenix NFL Yet (5-2, 3.1599), No. 17 for Arete Prep third (5-5, minus 0.5936), No. 19 for North Phoenix Prep (5-4, minus 2.4563), No. 23 for Superior (3-6, minus 5.7671), No. 24 for Cibecue (1-6, minus 6.4125), No. 25 for Hayden (2-6, minus 7.1955), and No. 33 for Kearny Ray (1-9, minus 12.1846).

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Lucas Basteen and Tommy Hille defend against Valley Union interior passes.

Last week, Fort Thomas topped Superior 81-56 Jan. 7 and Cibecue 63-58 Jan. 10 while Duncan disposed of NFL Yet 57-51 Jan. 7 and North Phoenix Prep 57-40 Jan. 11, all in region play. The Wildkats fell 35-39 to the visiting Elfrida Valley Union Blue Devils in a non-region pairing Jan. 10.

The Apaches are averaging a 67-55 (1,135-927) score per game or a 12-point margin through 17 games. The Wildkats have a 52-48 (779-717) 152-130 score per game or a 4-point margin through 15 games.

Duncan’s free throw shooting percentage is 52 (85-162) compared to 59 (105-178) for their combined opponents.

Senior Jason McGrath leads the team in free-throw shooting with 75 percent (3-4), followed by junior Jarret French at 64 (9-14), sophomore Conlon Jensen at 63 (10-16), junior Nathan Kempton at 60 (3-5), senior Lucas Basteen at 59 (19-32), senior Chris Smith at 56 (10-18), freshman Logan Basteen at 50 (1-2), junior Tommy Hille at 45 (9-20), and senior Steven Pierpont (12-28) and senior Cliff Hansen (9-21) both at 43.

Blue Devils – 39, Wildkats – 35

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Duncan senior Cliff Hansen readies a shot attempt against Valley Union.

Senior Lucas Basteen broke the games’ final tie, 31-31, by making 1-2 free throws with 4:31 remaining in the fourth period. It was the second fourth-period tie and the fourth of the game.

However, the Blue Devils outscored the Wildkats 8-3 during the remainder of the game. Pablo Arreola’s field goal gave Valley Union the lead for good 54 seconds later. Zeke Stewart’s field goal plus 2-2 free throws were added before a Tommy Hille 3-pointer narrowed the deficit to 35-37 with 1:15 left.

A Duncan turnover and foul allowed Stewart to add another pair of free throws with 25 seconds left. The Wildkats missed on a pair of long-distance shots.

“I like playing them (the Wildkats),” Valley Union head coach Jeff Baker said. “They are tall and play smart.”

Duncan connected on 13 field goals (six 3-pointers) plus 3-9 free throws compared to 12 field goals (one 3-pointer) plus 14-21 free throws by Valley Union.

Seven Wildkats contributed to the team scoring, but none in double figures. French and Hille had nine points apiece, Smith six, Basteen and Pierpont four each, Hansen two and Kempton one.

For Valley Union, Stewart had a game-high 30 points on nine field goals (one 3-pointer) plus 11-13 free throws.  Arreola added six points and Bradley Noble three. Jacob Sonke went 0-2 from the free-throw line.

Wildkats – 57, Eagles – 51

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Senior Steven Pierpont defends Valley Union’s Bradley Noble at the high post. Pierpont totaled four points and Noble three.

The Wildkats trailed 45-47 heading into the final eight minutes, but a 12-4 fourth period effort vaulted them over the hosts. Duncan led 16-14 after the opening period and 35-31 at halftime.

For the game, the Wildkats had 23 field goals (four 3-pointers) plus 7-11 free throws versus 20 field goals (four 3-pointers) plus 7-11 free throws by the Eagles.

Basteen netted 12 points on four field goals plus 4-4 free throws and Hille 12 on five field goals (one 3-pointer) plus 1-3 free throws. Pierpont added nine points, Jensen eight, Hansen seven, Smith six, and French three.

For the Eagles, Kristopher Floyd had a game-high 22 points on seven field goals (four 3-pointers) plus 4-10 free throws and Tekell Smith 12 on six field goals. Kevontre Cushionberry added nine points, Ulisses Castro four, and Ramon Garcia and Killo Killingsworth two each.

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