Region tourney provides post-season hope for Morenci girls

Photo By Raymundo Frasquillo: Senior Janeene Lang (32) rushes Thatcher junior Brooklyn Angle to prevent a second-half shot attempt. Angle scored a game-high 15 points, all in the first half. Thatcher won the region contest 49-25 in Morenci on Jan. 30.

By Raymundo Frasquillo

Photo By Raymundo Frasquillo: Senior Alex Chee moves in for a possible rebound against Thatcher senior Elizabeth Norton.

MORENCI – Morenci’s basketball girls were ranked 23rd of 51 2A teams with three region games left, went 1-2 and dropped to 26. The Wildcats fell 32-38 to the Cowgirls in Willcox on Jan. 23, topped the Yellow Jackets 50-29 in Tombstone on Jan. 26, and fell 25-49 to Thatcher in Morenci on Jan. 30.

The Steve Chavez-coached Wildcats (9-15 overall, 7-10 seeding record, minus 3.3972 rating, 6-6 region for No. 4) host No. 29 Willcox (9-15, 6-11, minus 4.8324 rating, 5-7 region for No. 5) for a 6 p.m. region tourney first-round pairing Monday, Feb. 5.

Morenci prevailed 42-40 in Wildcat memorial Gymnasium on Dec. 5, but fell by 7 points, 40-47, to the Cowgirls during the 42nd annual Eastern Arizona Holiday Tournament consolation round on a neutral site Dec. 15 and by 6 in Willcox on Jan. 23.

Other region tourney pairings are No. 7 Tombstone (2-23, 1-17, minus 18.5748, 0-12) at No. 2 Pima (15-9, 13-5, 5.0336, 11-1) and No. 6 Bisbee (6-18, 3-14, minus 12.2834, 2-10) at No. 3 Benson (17-9, 12-7, 1.9417, 7-5). Top-seed Thatcher (18-9, 12-5, 4.9555, 11-1) has a bye.

Photo By Raymundo Frasquillo: Senior Ashley Hernandez tries to keep Thatcher sophomore Briley Minor from penetrating or getting an open look for a shot attempt. Miner did not score.

Thatcher – 49, Morenci – 25

The Wildcats outscored the Eagles 19-18 in the second half but were unable to erase the 6-31 first-half deficit.

An 11-0 opening period outing by Thatcher juniors Brooklyn Angle and Kaitlynn Rasmussen, hitting from outside and inside, respectively, went unchecked by Morenci. Angle added another pair of 3-pointers to round out the opening period scoring. Thatcher led 47-16 heading into the final eight minutes of play.

Morenci totaled nine field goals (two 3-pointers) plus 5-16 free throws versus 20 field goals (three 3-pointers) plus 6-9 free throws by Thatcher.

Senior Alex Chee had a team-high 10 points on four field goals (one 3-pointer) plus 1-2 free throws. Senior Ashley Hernandez added five points, sophomore Bridgid Silvester four, and sophomore Desiree Babb, senior Janeene Lang, and senior Heather Lee two apiece.

For Thatcher, Angle tossed in a game-high 15 points on six field goals (three 3-pointers), senior Corrine Bryce 12 on four field goals plus 4-4 free throws, and Rasmussen 10 on five field goals. Sophomore Taya Baldwin added 5 points, senior Alyson Wakefield 3, and both senior Sydney Damron and junior Lacie Whitmer 2 apiece.

Photo By Raymundo Frasquillo: Morenci senior Heather Lee comes up short for a rebound as Thatcher’s Mikaela Jorgensen controls the ball.

Morenci – 50, Tombstone – 29

The Wildcats tallied double-digit scoring in each of the periods while holding the host Yellow Jackets to single digits during the first three periods.

Morenci grabbed a 10-7 opening period advantage, led 25-13 at halftime and 38-17 heading into the final period. Twelve points were added by both teams in the final eight minutes.

The Red and Black totaled 17 field goals (five 3-pointers) plus 11-20 free throws compared to 12 field goals (one 3-pointer) plus 4-12 free throws by Tombstone.

Hernandez tossed in a game-high 22 points on seven field goals (four 3-pointers) plus 4-5 free throws and Chee 14 on five field goals plus 4-7 free throws. Lee added 9 points, Lang 4, and Silvester 1.

For Tombstone, Brianna Willey had 8 points, Victoria Maxwell 5, Lexi Chavez and Shantay Malone 4 apiece, Laisha Kirchoff and Nayell Parra 3 each, and Elissa Willey 2.

Willcox – 38, Morenci – 32

The Wildcats trailed by one, 21-22, after three periods, but the Cowgirls turned in a 16-11 final period outing to take the region contest. Morenci led 17-14 at halftime and Willcox 8-4 following the opening period.

Morenci netted 11 field goals plus 10-20 free throws compared to 15 field goals plus 8-23 free throws by Willcox.

Chee netted 10 points on four field goals plus 2-6 free throws. Hernandez added 8 points, Silvester 6, Lee 4, and both junior Faith Hood and Lang 2 each.

For Willcox, senior Emily Warn had 10 points on four field goals plus 2-2 free throws. Senior Danielle Barba added 9 points, sophomore Tapanga Alexander 6, seniors Rebecca Archuleta and Maddie Michaels 4 apiece, freshman Sydney Klump 3, and senior Kristi Webster 2. Senior Zanati Garcia went 0-2 from the free throw line.