YC boys win first round sectional game, Cibola girls lose
Carter Rodriguez hit the game-winning shot on a layup at the buzzer as No. 8 Yuma Catholic stunned No. 1 Arizona Lutheran 57-56 in the first round of the Division IV Section I tournament on Tuesday.
The Shamrocks trailed by as much as 12 in the third quarter and were down a point with 13 seconds left with Arizona Lutheran in possession of the ball when they came up with a steal. Eventually, they inbounded the ball from under their own basket with 4.4 seconds left. Rodriguez found post Matt Pistone in the paint, then Pistone lobbed the ball back to Rodriguez just inside the baseline. The freshman point guard nailed the layup for the win.
“He was critical,” YC coach Brooks Neumann said of Rodriguez's 15-point, nine-assist performance. “They put on a lot of pressure out front, and he took care of the ball. He couldn't have had more than two turnovers.”
Pistone, a freshman center, had 16 points and 12 rebounds. Neumann said that when YC switched from a zone to a man-to-man defense in the second half, the defense of Everett McKinney and Donovan Rooks was pivotal.
“I'm just so happy for these kids,” Neumann said. “They played their butts off tonight. They had seven seniors and to beat them with a team with five freshmen and five sophomores is kind of special.”
The Shamrocks will face No. 4 Valley Lutheran in the semifinals tonight. The win assures the Shamrocks a spot in the state tournament, although it was likely without the win.
“We just kept plugging away,” Neumann said. “Our young kids don't want to lose. They just don't understand losing. They have this energy and they don't give up.”
PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL
Cibola falls in sectional opener
The No. 6 Cibola girls basketball team lost its Division I Section I tournament opener 55-24 to Westview on Tuesday at Tolleson.
Cibola coach Justin Hager could not be reached for stats or comment after the game. The score was posted on the AIA website.