Riders oust Spartans, face Wolves in next round Friday

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Pima junior Alec Judd (RIGHT) defends Scottsdale Prep junior Tommy Whittley in the first half. Judd scored 14 points and Whittley 12. Pima eliminated the No. 4 Central Region entrant in the 2A state tourney field, 53-41 Feb. 13.

By Raymundo Frasquillo

PIMA – The Cliff Thompson-coached No. 12 Pima Roughriders ousted the No. 21 Scottsdale Prep Spartans 53-41 during a play-in round pairing Wednesday, Feb. 13.

Half of the 48-team 2A Conference was involved in the state meet; the 8-team South Region qualified four teams, the 8-team North Region three, the 7-team Central Region four, the 7-team East Region and Metro Region three each, the 6-team Valley Region four, and the 5-team West Region three.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Pima junior Levi Thygerson challenges Scottsdale Prep senior David Tooker near half-court. Tooker connected on four 3-pointers and ended with 14 points.

Scottsdale Prep was the No. 4 Central Region entrant in the state post-season and joined the other members in being eliminated. Region top seed and No. 11 ranked Camp Verde was upset 76-72 by No. 22 Gilbert Classical, region second seed and No. 20 ranked Glendale Prep fell 58-48 to No. 13 Phoenix Country Day School, and region No. 3 and No. 24 ranked Flagstaff Northland Prep fell 65-30 to No. 9 Scottsdale Rancho Solano Prep.

The Camp Verde loss moved Nos. 12-16 up a slot and Gilbert Classical to No. 16 for the round of 16 beginning Friday, Feb. 15.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Pima head coach Cliff Thompson goes over a play during a timeout.

Instead of facing No. 5 Morenci (No. 1 East) in the next round, No. 11 Pima (No. 3 East) goes up against the No. 6 Tucson Saint Augustine Catholic Wolves (No. 2 South) on the Yavapai Community College campus at 9 a.m., Morenci faces the No. 12 Phoenix Country Day School Eagles (No. 3 Metro) on the YCC campus at 3 p.m., and No. 4 Thatcher draws the No. 13 Chandler Prep Titans (No. 1 Valley) on the Prescott Valley Bradshaw Mountain campus at 3 p.m.

Thatcher and Morenci are both in the top half of the bracket. The other two pairings are No, 9 Rancho Solano Prep (No. 1 Metro) versus No. 8 Goodyear Trivium Prep (No. 2 West) on the YCC campus at 1:30 p.m. and No. 16 Gilbert Classical (No. 3 Valley) versus No. 1 Scottsdale Christian (No. 2 Metro) on YCC campus at 7:30 p.m.

The bottom of the bracket also has No. 10 Phoenix Arizona Lutheran (No. 3 West) versus No. 7 Parker (No. 1 West) on the Prescott High campus at noon, No. 15 Miami (No. 4 South) versus No. 7 Whiteriver Alchesay (No. 1 North) in the Prescott Valley Findlay Toyota Center at 6 p.m., and No. 14 San Manuel (No. 3 South) versus No. 3 Globe (No. 1 South) on the YCC campus at 6 p.m.

Others Eliminated following the play-in round were No. 17 Sanders Valley (No. 2 North), 68-58 by Miami; No. 18 Keams Canyon Hopi (No. 3 North), 66-60 by San Manuel; No. 19 Phoenix Christian (No. 2 Valley), 39-26 by Chandler Prep; and No. 23 Gilbert Leading Edge (No. 4 Valley), 64-44 by Arizona Lutheran.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Pima sophomore Tim Salyer drops his foot back to stay in front of Scottsdale Prep senior Ben Bogosian.

Pima – 53, Scottsdale Prep – 41

The Roughriders broke the games’ final tie and took the lead for good, 25-23, on a pair of Dawson Pruszynski free throws with 6:33 left in the third period. A rebounded missed second free throw and put back with 1:01 left in the period gave the Roughriders a 4-point advantage.

Pima led 14-12 following the opening period, 23-20 at halftime, and 32-28 at the start of the final period. The Roughriders expanded their advantage to double digits on a 6-0 run, 41-31 with 4:49 left to play, and again on an 8-0 run, 51-37 with 47 seconds remaining.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Senior Dawson Pruszynski finds an opening to put up a high percentage shot attempt late in the game. The Pima senior had a game-high 20 points.

The initial run started after a controversial turnover where a Pima player appeared tipped the ball, which then also hit a Scottsdale player and bounded into Pima’s side of the court. The ref turned the ball over to Pima on a backcourt violation, much to the dismay of Scottsdale Prep head coach Mark Owens, who insisted the referee made the wrong call. The game was intense enough for Pima head coach Cliff Thompson to need a refresher afterward.

“I added a couple more gray hairs,” Thompson said.

The Roughriders totaled 19 field goals (two 3-pointers) plus 13-20 free throws compared to 14 field goals (eight 3-pointers) plus 5-7 free throws by the Spartans.

Senior Dawson Pruszynski had a game-high 20 points on six field goals plus 8-15 free throws and junior Alec Judd 14 on five field goals (two 3-pointers) plus 2-2 free throws. Junior Levi Thygerson added eight points, senior Hayden Ashby six, senior Jake Whitaker three, and sophomore Tim Salyer two.

Scottsdale Prep senior David Tooker had 14 points on five field goals (four 3-pointers) and junior Tommy Whittley 12 on four field goals (one 3-pointer) plus 3-5 free throws. Junior Kasey Anonsen added six points, senior Sean Holford four, senior Ralph Mersiowsky three, and senior Jake Nagel two.