Most Viewed Stories
Gila Ridge loses squeaker to Cibola a day after the death of fellow student
David Schultz's eyes reddened. His voice choked up.
The Gila Ridge girls basketball coach wasn't emotional about his team's 47-43 loss at home to Cibola in a non-Gila Valley Region contest Friday. Schultz was looking at a broader picture after the death of Gila Ridge athlete Anthony Acosta.
“To lose a kid, that's what this is all about,” Schultz said. “I told (Cibola coach) Justin (Hager) tonight, ‘We got to come out and compete and have fun.' Justin said, ‘Yeah.' Our thoughts and prayers are with Anthony. That shook all of us up. It's not about winning games and stuff. It's being here for the kids.”
Acosta died of injuries after being the victim of a hit-and-run Thursday night. The suspect is Nathan Bartley, an Arizona Western freshman offensive lineman. He's currently being held at Yuma County jail on a $200,000 bond.
Before the start of the contest, there was a moment of silence in memory of Acosta.
Hawks players said Acosta's death impacted their day.
“At school, it was hard,” junior guard Summer Ehrig said. “Everybody was upset and cried. It just kind of had an effect on us. But once we got out on the court, I don't think we were worrying about that as much. We just wanted to win.”
Senior power forward Vivian Rowland added, “It did take a toll on us, but we had to just do what we do. It kind of put a big cloud of darkness (over us).”
Hager said his players were aware with the situation but felt his team was focused despite the circumstances.
“I think it shed light on some things,” Hager said. “It made them realize basketball isn't the most important thing. There are more important things than basketball. Our kids felt bad about the situation. There's nothing much you could do than to send your thoughts and prayers.”
After a sluggish first half in which the Hawks (6-2 overall, 1-0 GVR) trailed by as many as 10 points, they fought their way back.
Gila Ridge got as close as one in the fourth quarter, but Brandi Badilla's 3-pointer gave Cibola a 37-33 lead.
The margin swung back and forth between two and four points until Ehrig, who scored a game-high 17, knocked down a fadeaway jumper just inside the 3-point line to tie the game at 43 with about a minute remaining.
Kiah Brown, though, gave Cibola (8-1, 1-0) the lead for good when she made a driving lay-up with 40 seconds left.
“I saw an open opportunity,” Brown said. “I saw (the defender) was not playing on me, so I just went for it.”
Gila Ridge had one final opportunity to send the game into overtime but Melanie Alameda's 15-foot jumper hit the front of the rim. Badilla, who scored a team-high 16, drained two free throws with two seconds left to ice the win.
“This one hurts,” Schultz said. “It definitely hurts.”