Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Morenci junior guard Heather Lee directs the Wildcats during the win over Willcox on Dec. 4. Lee ended with 7 points in the 44-41 overtime region win.
By Raymundo Frasquillo
MORENCI – The Albert Ortega-coached Morenci Wildcats went into overtime to defeat the visiting Willcox Cowgirls 44-41, Dec. 4. It was the initial win for the Wildcats under the first-year Morenci head coach, following losses of 64-35 to Ray in Kearny on Nov. 27 and 42-39 to Bisbee in Wildcat Memorial Gymnasium on Dec. 1.
Morenci shot a combined 58 percent (18-31) for free throws during the three games compared to 48 percent (45-94) for the opponents.
The individual percentages were 100 percent (2-2) for senior Reona Alvarez, 71percent (5-7) for junior Heather Lee, 50 percent for sophomore Kayla O’Connell (2-4) and freshmen Zenayah Cortez (1-2) and Devanee Medina (1-2), 40 percent for both sophomore Destanee Marquez (4-10) and senior Faith Hood (2-5), 20 percent (1-5) for senior Desiree Babb, and 0-1 for senior Rhiannon Lang, and 0-5 for junior Brigid Silvester.
Morenci (1-2 overall, 1-2 seeding, 1-1 region) visits the Pima Roughriders for a region contest Friday, Dec. 7.
Morenci – 44, Willcox – 41 OT
The Wildcats outscored the Cowgirls 5-2 in the extra period, leading 43-39 before the Cowgirls connected on a pair of free throws with 1:28 left to play. Marquez and Silvester both contributed a field goal and Medina 1-2 free throws. Tapanga Alexander made the free throws for Willcox.
Morenci led 29-26 heading into the final period, but the visitors tied up at 31 apiece 1:28 later and again 33-33 with 1:48 and 39-39 with 18 seconds left. The Wildcats drew no iron on a free throw with six seconds remaining and missed on a field goal attempt at the buzzer.
Willcox led 17-15 at halftime and 9-7 following the opening period.
The Wildcats totaled 20 field goals plus 4-12 free throws versus 12 field goals (1 3-pointer) plus 16-35 free throws by the Cowgirls.
Lang netted a team-high 16 points on eight field goals plus 0-1 free throws and Silvester 10 on five field goals plus 0-2 free throws. Lee added seven points, Marquez six, Medina three, and Cortez two. Babb went 0-2 from the free throw line.
Willcox got 15 points from Sydney Klump on five field goals plus 5-11 free throws. Alma Barajas added eight points, Alexander and Jordyn Rhinehart seven apiece, and Ana Barajas four.
Bisbee – 42, Morenci – 39
Morenci outscored the visitors 20-8 during the final eight minutes, but it was too little too late. The Wildcats needed another three points to tie. A 15-point deficit, 34-19, loomed as the fourth period began.
The Wildcats tallied 17 field goals (1 3-pointer) plus 4-9 free throws compared to 13 field goals (2 3-pointers) plus 14-39 free throws by Bisbee.
Silvester contributed 11 points on five field goals (1 3-pointer) plus 0-1 free throw. Cortez added nine points, Medina four, Juliauna Aguilar, Alvarez, Hood, Lee, and Marquez two apiece, and O’Connell one.
For Bisbee, senior Veronica Lopez had 14 points on six field goals plus 2-5 free throws and freshman Alexia Lopez 11 on three field goals (2 3-pointers) plus 3-7 free throws. Freshman Valerie Wright added eight points, sophomore Yasmin Morales seven, and both senior Priscilla Polanco and sophomore Bryn Lumpkin one each.
Ray – 64, Morenci – 35
The Wildcats were limited to double-digit scoring in two periods compared to three by the host Bearcats and trailed from the onset. Morenci’s deficit was 17-6 following the opening period, 32-17 at halftime, and 56-24 after three periods.
Twelve field goals (one 3-pointer) plus 10-22 free throws were made by the Wildcats versus 23 field goals (three 3-pointers) plus 15-20 free throws by the Bearcats.
Lang had 8 points, Hood 6, Silvester 5, Lee 4, Babb 3, Juliauna Aguilar, Alvarez, and Cortez 2 each, and O’Connell one.
For the hosts, Shelby Slocum netted a game-high 31 points on 11 field goals (1 3-pointer), Tara Lorona 12 on six field goals, and Julie Meza 10 on two 3-pointers plus 4-4 free throws. Emma Stuart had 5 points, Marissa Barragan 4, and Emily Rutter had 2.