Wildcats head to state meet first round in Prescott

Photo By Raymundo Frasquillo: Junior John Olmsted drew a double-team from senior Bryson Gregory (32) and freshman Xavier Hendrix early in the game, but still managed double-figure scoring. Morenci prevailed 62-46 over Arizona College Prep.

By Raymundo Frasquillo

MORENCI – The Patrick Hepper-coached No. 12 Morenci Wildcats (18-11) dispatched the No. 21 Chandler Arizona College Prep Knights (15-14) 62-46 during a play-in game at Wildcat Memorial Gymnasium on Feb. 14. The win sends the Wildcats to the round of 16 in the Prescott area Friday, Feb. 16.

Morenci faces No. 5 Scottsdale Christian on the Yavapai Community College campus at 7:30 p.m.

The other state meet first-round pairings at Prescott Valley Events Center are No. 1 Pima versus No. 16 Phoenix Arizona Lutheran at 10:30 a.m., No. 8 Many Farms vs. No. 9 Thatcher at 1:30 p.m., No. 6 San Carlos vs. No. 11 Scottsdale Prep at 6 p.m., and No. 3 Whiteriver Alchesay vs. No. 14 Phoenix Country Day School at 7:30 p.m.

Photo By Raymundo Frasquillo: Junior Jordan Leonard steals the ball from freshman Nic Chang and heads down court for a lay-up.

Prescott High School will host No. 2 Phoenix Paradise Honors vs. No. 15 Glendale Joy Christian at 3 p.m.; Yavapai Community College hosts No. 4 Scottsdale Rancho Solano vs. No. 13 Sanders Valley at 1:30 p.m. and No. 7 Sedona Red Rock vs. No. 10 Gilbert Christian at 6 p.m.

The winners advance to the quarterfinals Saturday, Feb. 17. The semifinals are Friday, Feb. 23, and the championship is Saturday, Feb. 24.

The higher seeds went 5-3 during the play-in round. Eliminated were No. 22 Kingman Academy 63-50 by No. 9 Thatcher, No. 23 Phoenix Horizon Honors 65-43 by No. 10 Gilbert Christian, No. 22 Keams Canyon Hopi 71-40 by Scottsdale Prep, No. 20 Tucson Saint Augustine Catholic 80-61 by Sanders Valley, No. 14 Gilbert Leading Edge 58-55 by No. 19 Phoenix Arizona Lutheran, No. 15 Phoenix Christian 49-47 by Glendale Joy Christian, and No. 16 Trivium Prep 73-56 by No. 17 Phoenix Country Day School.

Photo By Raymundo Frasquillo: Junior Ryan Hayes makes it difficult for sophomore Diego Navarro to find an open teammate.

Morenci – 62, Arizona College Prep – 46

The Knights got within single digits, 54-46 with 4:57 left to play, but Morenci went on an 8-0 run to close out the game. Morenci controlled the opening tip, scored first and never trailed. Arizona College Prep tied the score at 19-19 with 1:14 elapsed in the second period but did not lead or tie again.

Freshman guard Diego Mendoza rebounded a missed junior guard Jordan Leonard 3-point attempt and dialed long distance to connect for the game’s initial score.

The Wildcats led by six, 19-13, following the opening period; by seven, 35-28, at halftime; and by 11, 50-39, heading into the final period.

Morenci totaled 22 field goals (seven 3-pointers) plus 11-16 free throws compared to 15 field goals (nine 3-pointers) plus 7-11 free throws by Arizona College Prep.

Junior John Olmsted tallied 14 points on six field goals plus 2-5 free throws, sophomore Dominik Waters 12 on four 3-pointers, and both Leonard and Mendoza 11 apiece, on three field goals (one 3-pointer) plus 4-5 free throws (Leonard) and 4-4 free throws (Mendoza). Junior Ryan Hayes added seven points, junior Matthew Silvester six, and senior Chris Leonard one.

Photo By Raymundo Frasquillo: Freshman guard Diego Mendoza alters the path of senior Kory Mason during the first half. Mendoza had 11 points while Mason did not score.

For the Knights, sophomore Diego Navarro contributed 17 points on five 3-pointers plus 2-2 free throws and freshman Xavier Hendrix 12 on four 3-pointers. Freshman Lucas McDougall had nine points, senior Bryson Gregory four, and both freshman Nic Chang and sophomore Daniel Chukwu two each.

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