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Kofa finishes off Yuma High
The Yuma High boys basketball had nearly climbed all the way back from a huge deficit.
But then Isaac Coronado and the Kofa Kings finished what they started and won 72-62 on Saturday night in the final game of the Arizona Western High School Basketball Jamboree.
After being down 20 points in the first half, the Criminals battled back to make it 49-45 early in the fourth quarter. But Coronado, a 6-foot sophomore guard, scored nine of his team-high 25 points after that and the Kings distanced themselves again from Yuma High.
“We let Yuma back in the game. Instead of finishing the game, we stopped playing the game and they could have come back,” Kofa coach Danilo Montialli said. “Luckily, we realized to put ball pressure and rebound the basketball better and we got a couple of stops that led to layups for Isaac.”
Zac Castaneda also had 13 points for the Kings (5-9) and Hans Fischer added nine points and nine rebounds.
For Yuma High, freshman post Octavio Rios had a team-high 18 points and nine rebounds, junior Brian Dixon added 16 and senior guard Sedric Rash and Quentin Barley each added 11. But according to Criminal coach Chris Turner, the offensive side of the ball wasn't the problem for Yuma High.
“Defensively, we looked awful,” Turner said. “We played terrible, it's as simple as that. Guys didn't come out ready to play.”
The win is a little bit of payback for the Kings, who lost 50-23 to Yuma High (5-10) on Nov. 26.
“We worked as a team and played better defense this time,” Coronado said.
“There might have been a little cockiness that we blew them out the first time and thought we don't need to show up and we looked really bad,” Turner said about his Criminals.
Yuma High spent the entire game facing an uphill battle. The Kings jumped out to a 10-2 lead after a 3-pointer by Coronado. Early in the second quarter, a 3-pointer by Rash cut the Kofa lead to 21-15 – then the Kings started to pull away. They got scoring from six different players on a 14-0 run capped by a basket by sophomore guard Justice Brown that made it 35-15.
“We're more comfortable now with each other and with the roles we have to do,” Montialli said.
However, Yuma High started to chip away and answered 12-0 run of their own, which included seven straight points by Rios to end the half with Kofa ahead 35-27.
The Kofa lead hovered around 10 points for the entire third quarter, but Yuma High scored the opening baskets of the fourth – a layup by Barley made it 49-45 with 6:19 left to play.
But the Criminals wouldn't get any closer than that.
Kofa answered with ball pressure that lead to some easy baskets as a part of a 15-4 run, which included eight points from Coronado.
“We have lots of young kids and you have to come out and play,” Montialli said. “You're going to fall, but it's about how fast you're going to get back up and keep your head up.”
Kofa hosts Westwind Prep at 4 p.m. Wednesday before taking a break and Yuma High travels to Brawley on Wednesday. With a win, the Criminals will have matched their win total (six) of the previous three years combined. However, Turner hopes a different Criminal team shows up in Brawley.
“(Tonight) was a bad display of basketball,” Turner said. “There's nothing good to say about the game. We played awful.”
Mitchell reaches milestone in win
Cibola senior guard Jordan Mitchell connected on a running layup late in the third quarter of the Raiders' 60-27 win over Gila Ridge on Saturday afternoon at Arizona Western College.
It was his last basket of the game and gave him 1,001 points in his career at Cibola.
“I didn't know (about the milestone). My teammates kind of gave me a hint when they kept telling me how many points I needed,” said Mitchell, who finished with 16 points, four steals and four assists. “I couldn't have done it without them.”
Cibola (9-1) got a double-double from senior post Steven Loucks, who scored 10 points and hauled in 12 rebounds. Senior wing Brett Boyer connected on three 3-pointers in the first half and finished with 11 points in the win.
For Gila Ridge, sophomore post Parker Rodriguez led the way with eight points and eight rebounds. The Hawks (5-6) trailed the entire game and only scored two points in the opening quarter.
The Raiders also beat the Hawks 66-48 in their first meeting on Dec. 4.
Jesse Severson can be reached at email@example.com or at 539-6881. Find him on Facebook at facebook.com/YSJesseSeverson.