Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Grant Ashby attacks the rim for 2 points in Pima’s 83-20 drubbing of Fort Thomas on Tuesday night. Ashby and Coy Miller led the way with 20 points each.
By Jon Johnson
PIMA – The Pima Roughriders (1-0) opened their season Tuesday night by jumping all over the Fort Thomas Apaches (1-0 conference, 1-1 overall) 31-0 in the first quarter en route to an 83-20 victory.
“We came out and did a lot of the things we wanted to do,” said Pima head coach Cliff Thompson. “We wanted to play against some pressure defense in the half-court and I think we did a pretty good job of that. And then some of our guys started knocking down shots which is kind of nice because that’s a concern of ours. If we can knock down some outside shots, I think we’re going to be tough to deal with. As long as we can play good defense and put enough points on the board – sometimes you gotta win ugly. We played pretty well tonight. We’ll see if we can carry that forward.”
The Roughriders presented too much size at nearly every position and just stopped most of the Apaches’ shots in the paint from even hitting the rim or backboard. Pima had a number of blocked shots from various defenders, including twin towers Grant and Pierce Ashby, and the altered shots were too numerous to count.
Coy Miller and Grant Ashby led Pima early with Miller hitting two 3’s and scoring some layups for 13 points in the first quarter. Ashby kept up with five field goals and two free throws for 12 points in the first quarter and then nailed two treys himself in the second. While Miller is a sharpshooter with a nose for the bucket, Grant is a true inside/outside threat who can nail the trey, drive past a defender, dish the rock, and finish at the rim. The pair both ended the night with 20 points apiece.
“I thought Coy Miller played really well,” coach Thompson said. “He shot the ball really well early on and had a good game. Grant Ashby played really well. He’s so versatile. He can play inside; he can play outside; he can play guard, forward, whatever we need him to do. And I think we did a good job of rebounding. That’s something we want to emphasize is to out-rebound everybody else.”
In the second quarter, Pima’s offense was a little more balanced with Dallin Kartchner and Garrett Curtis kicking in 4 points each. Curtis was steady all game long and finished with 11.
Fort Thomas finally got on the board with 7:18 left in the second quarter when Marius Wright scored a putback. Carmelo Robertson and Jayshawn Rambler also hit from beyond the arc to give the Apaches 10 points in the quarter, but they went into halftime down 54-10.
I have to give the Apaches credit for how hard they played for the whole game. They were in there hacking away at the forest that is the Pima frontcourt of Seth Russell, Nathan Skiba, and Pierce Ashby, while the backcourt was swallowed up most of the time as well.
The third quarter was a repeat of the second, with Pima scoring another 23 points spread throughout the team. The fourth quarter was shortened due to the mercy running clock rule, and Pima had just 6 points in the quarter to finish the game 83-20.
Every Pima player scored, including Dallin Kartchner with 7 points, Austen Ashby and Riley Alder with 5 points each, Pierce Ashby and Seth Russel with 4 points each, Sam Ray with 3 points, and Nathan Skiba and Leland Thompson with 2 points each.
Fort Thomas was led by Robertson with 6 points, followed by Rambler with 5 points, Elijah Nozie with 4 points, Allen Ganilla with 3 points, and Wright with 2 points.
Pima will next travel to face the San Carlos Braves (1-1) on Thursday, starting at 7 p.m. Fort Thomas will next host the Duncan Wildkats (0-1 conference, 5-1 overall) on Friday, starting at 6 p.m.