Top seed Apaches face Patagonia, Duncan draws Baboquivari for quarterfinals Thursday

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Cameron Anderson races to interrupt Williams senior David Lozano’s fast break. The Fort Thomas senior succeeded as the Apaches used an up-tempo pace to prevail 72-40 in Jerry W. Hancock Gymnasium on Feb. 15. The Apaches face Patagonia in Findlay Toyota Center on Thursday, Feb. 20 at 4:30 p.m.

By Raymundo Frasquillo

FORT THOMAS – The lower-ranked Williams Vikings outscored top seed Fort Thomas 5-4 in the fourth period of a 1A play-in game Feb. 15. It made no difference in the game’s outcome and several of their fans did not get to see it. They were escorted out of Jerry W. Hancock Gymnasium for inappropriate comments before the final buzzer sounded.

The Matthew Dona-coached Fort Thomas Apaches ended No. 16 Williams’ season 72-40. Ranked No. 18 at the end of the regular season, the Vikings swept the Central Region tourney to gain a spot in the play-in round.

The Apaches played their up-tempo pace throughout the contest. As a result, Fort Thomas grabbed the advantage early and was “able to rest the starters.”

“I like to start like that to see how they (opponents) react,” the third-year Apaches head coach and 2020 East Region Coach of the Year said. “Everybody played.”

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Williams junior Zain Grantham gets across the half-court and finds Fort Thomas senior Brad Johnson impeding his path.

The white jersey-clad home boys led 25-12 following the opening period, 45-23 at halftime, and 68-35 heading into the final eight minutes.

Fort Thomas totaled 29 field goals (five 3-pointers) plus 9-10 free throws compared to 14 field goals (three 3-pointers) plus 9-20 free throws by Williams.

Senior Skylar Kindelay dropped in a game-high 33 points on 13 field goals (two 3-pointers) plus 5-5 free throws. Senior Brad Johnson added nine points, seniors Jeremiah Bullis and Malachi Rogers eight apiece, sophomore Cameron Anderson six, seniors Jaden Preston and Latrell Titla three each, and junior Traymond Titla two.

For the Vikings, two Central Region First Teamers, senior David Lozano and junior Zain Grantham, netted 12 points apiece on three field goals (one 3-pointer) plus 5-10 free throws and on four field goals (two 3-pointer) plus 2-6 free throws, respectively, and honorable mention sophomore Preston Ford 10 points on five field goals. Second team junior Ceasar Santana added four points and honorable mention sophomore Oryn Orozco two.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: The standing room only home crowd reacts to the Apaches’ scoring play.

Four road upsets were posted in play-in pairings with No. 9 Duncan 36-33 over No. 8 Bullhead City Mohave Accelerated, No. 10 Phoenix NFL Yet 79-77 in overtime over No. 7 Saint David, No. 12 Gilbert Arete Prep 70-66 over No. 5 Joseph City, and No. 13 Patagonia 55-53 over Tucson’s The Gregory School.

The three other teams advancing were No. 2 Rock Point, 83-67 over No. 15 California Winterhaven San Pasqual; No. 3 Phoenix North Valley Christian, 75-42 over Colorado City El Capitan; and No. 6 Sells Baboquivari, 73-45 over Anthem Prep.

In earlier pairings, Fort Thomas is 7-1 versus the other seven advancers, Baboquivari 4-1, NFL Yet 2-2, Duncan 2-3, North Valley Christian 1-1, Arete Prep 1-4, Rock Point 0-1, and Patagonia 0-3.

Fort Thomas has wins of 65-37 (Dec. 12), 66-54 (Jan. 14), and 67-51 (Feb. 7) over Duncan; 72-58 (Jan. 28) and 88-40 (Feb. 4) over Arete Prep, 71-61 (Jan. 31) over NFL Yet, and 75-57 (Feb. 11) over Patagonia.

Baboquivari has wins of 65-39 (Dec. 14) over Rock Point, 73-52 (Jan. 13) over Patagonia, 84-67 (Jan. 16) over Fort Thomas, and 56-53 (Jan. 31) over North Valley Christian.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Senior Skylar Kindelay braces to take a fourth-period charge from Williams senior David Lozano. The Fort Thomas senior netted a game-high 33 points while Lozano had 12.

Wins by the other six teams are 51-48 (Dec. 13) and 56-53 (Jan. 15) by NFL Yet over Arete Prep, 57-51 (Jan. 7) over NFL Yet and 48-36 (Jan. 21) over Patagonia by Duncan, 54-47 (Jan. 21) over Baboquivari by North Valley Christian, and 47-44 (Jan. 17) over Duncan by Arete Prep.

Four East Region teams make up half of the state quarterfinalists. Region champion Fort Thomas (8-0), runner-up Duncan (6-2), fourth place Arete Prep (5-3), and fifth place NFL Yet (4-4).

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Cameron Anderson goes up for two points against Williams’s sophomore Preston Ford. The Fort Thomas sophomore scored the Apaches’ final field goal with 37 seconds elapsed in the fourth period.

The other half has North and West Region 6-0 champions Rock Point and North Valley Christian, respectively, plus South Region third place Patagonia (6-2) and fourth place Baboquivari (4-4).

The 1A state tourney resumes with quarterfinals in the Prescott area Thursday, Feb. 20. The pairings at Findlay Toyota Center are the No. 9 Duncan Wildkats (22-7 overall, 14-4 seeding, 1.8597 rating) vs. the No. 6 Baboquivari Warriors (22-8, 17-0, 7.2034) at 1:30 p.m. and the No. 13 Patagonia Lobos (16-11, 9-7, minus 2.6527) versus the No. 1 Fort Thomas Apaches (26-5, 17-2, 9.2385) at 4:30 p.m. in one bracket.

The other bracket on the Yavapai Community College campus includes the No. 10 NFL Yet Eagles (19-8, 12-5, 1.3048) vs. the No. 3 North Valley Christian Lions (24-4, 8.0991) a 3 p.m. and the No. 12 Arete Prep Chargers (13-15, 13-5, minus 9.3156) vs. the No. 2 Rock Point Cougars (22-5, 17-0, 8.9612) at 6 p.m.

Winners will also play in the Prescott area for the semifinals Friday, Feb. 21 and the championship game is Saturday, Feb. 22.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Fort Thomas seniors Latrell Titla and Jaden Preston scramble after a loose ball as Williams junior Luis Lara falls to the floor.
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