Thatcher girls complete region sweep, host region semifinals

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Pima sophomore guard Nevaeh Grant brings the ball up-court with Thatcher junior Briley Miner on her hip. The Eagles prevailed 63-30 and completed a sweep of the region Jan. 31.

By Raymundo Frasquillo

PIMA – Thatcher’s basketball girls completed a sweep of the 2A East Region, running away from Pima 63-30 on Jan. 31.

The Eagles will host the region tourney semifinals, Benson versus Pima at 5 p.m. and Bisbee versus Thatcher at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 7.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Thatcher senior Brooklyn Angle attacks the basket as Pima sophomore Nevaeh Grant attempts a steal. Angle finished with a game-high 18 points.

Each of the higher seeds prevailed during the first round Feb. 5, No. 2 Pima (8-4) 46-11 over No. 7 Tombstone (0-12), No. 3 Benson (7-5) 60-26 over No. 6 Willcox (3-9), and No. 4 Bisbee (7-5) 46-40 over No. 5 Morenci (5-7). Top seed Thatcher (12-0) had a bye.

The state tourney play-in games, involving the state-wide teams ranked No. 9 – 24, will begin Tuesday, Feb. 12, at the higher seed.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Reserves, Thatcher’s Marleigh Nicholas (21) and Mercedez Tison (35) along with Pima freshmen Maya Mattice (20) and Samantha Pippo (21) take the floor in the fourth quarter.

Thatcher – 63, Pima – 30

Pima outscored the visiting green-clad Thatcher Eagles 11-8 in the fourth quarter, but it was not enough to offset the 36-point, 19-55, three-quarters deficit.

The white-clad host Roughriders led twice early, 2-0 with 1:16 elapsed and 4-2 with 2:01 elapsed, but both times, the visiting Eagles came back to tie.

A pair of Pima turnovers led to Thatcher scores and a 13-4 deficit. Pima’s initial time out temporarily halted a 15-0 Thatcher run with 2:40 remaining in the opening quarter. Four additional turnovers allowed the Eagles to score and put the game away, leading 19-4 with 1:10 left.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Pima senior Raely Brown pulls down a rebound and looks to pass it off with Thatcher senior Lacie Whitmer defending.

Pima scored 44 seconds later, but Thatcher started another run, 16-0, over the next 3:14, to go ahead 35-6 with 4:51 left in the first half. The Eagles took advantage of five turnovers.

The Roughriders had a run of their own, 8-0, to pare the deficit to 21, 14-35, but the Eagles began another run of 16-0 lasting late into the third quarter. Pima trailed by 39, 14-53, when a pair of Alani Blair field goals, a 3-pointer with 2:32 and an insider with 2:10 left in the quarter, cut the deficit to 34. Thatcher junior Briley Miner added a field goal 25 seconds later to give the Eagles a 55-19 advantage heading into the final quarter.

Pima totaled 13 field goals (three 3-pointers) plus 1-1 free throws compared to 25 field goals (eight 3-pointers) plus 5-7 free throws by Thatcher.

Blair had a team-high nine points, freshman Ashlie and Aubrie Sherwood seven apiece, freshman Saydee Allred five, and senior Cydnee Palmer two.

For Thatcher, senior Brooklynn Angle posted a game-high 16 points on seven field goals (two 3-pointers) and senior Kaitlyn Rasmussen 11 on three field goals plus 5-5 free throws. Sophomore Karlee Lords added nine points, junior Taya Baldwin six, senior Lacie Whitmer and sophomore Dallys Casillas five apiece, senior Laila West four, Marleigh Nicholas three, and both Miner and sophomore Cassidy Wakefield two apiece.