Cibola, Yuma Catholic look to pull off upsets in second round
The Cibola and Yuma Catholic boys basketball teams have already pulled off upsets in the postseason this year.
Now they're hoping they have at least one more under their sleeve.
Both the Raiders and Shamrocks will be facing a significantly higher seeded team today in the second round of the Arizona Interscholastic Association State Tournament. The No. 20 Raiders will play at No. 4 Gilbert at 7 p.m., and the No. 11 Shamrocks face off against No. 6 El Capitan at 7:30 p.m. at Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott.
The Raiders (15-5) are coming off a 48-44 win at No. 13 Lake Havasu in the first round, but will have their hands full against a talented Gilbert (16-4) squad. In comparative opponents, the Raiders lost 65-54 in the Southwest Rotary Classic to No. 7 Basha, who looked impressive while winning the tournament. During the regular season, Gilbert defeated Basha twice — by a combined 37 points.
The talented Tigers roster is led by 6-foot-3 senior Freddie Lash and 6-foot-2 senior Erik Crawford.
“They're a big strong team, they run a lot of motion with their guards,” Cibola coach Tim Keller said.
Despite the disparity in seeding between the two teams and Gilbert's impressive numbers, Keller is confident his team isn't going to roll over for the Tigers.
“We're going into this with the mindset that we can play with them and we can win.”
For the Shamrocks, their game against El Capitan will be a chance to continue a red-hot postseason. Yuma Catholic emerged as the No. 11 seed after making a run to the championship in the Division IV Section I Tournament, despite being the lowest seed of the section.
The Shamrocks opened up the first round of state with a 72-59 win over No. 22 Rock Point. But with the No. 6 Vaqueros out of Colorado City, the young Yuma Catholic will need to continue their solid play.
The Vaqueros are led on offense by 6-foot-3 point guard Lee Barlow and, according to Shamrocks coach Brooks Neumann, “have a skinny 6-foot-4 kid in the post.”
Neumann says he's gotten his hands on a scouting report and it seems as though El Capitan has no interest in scouting their opponents.
“It feels like I know more about them than they do about us. And even though we're an 11 seed and they're a six, I feel really good about this game,” Neumann said.
One reason for optimism for Neumann is freshman shooter Jagan Cleary will be back after missing the sectional tournament due to illness. And judging by the way the Shamrocks have been playing, not having enough optimism hasn't been a problem.
“We're playing really, really well right now,” Neumann said.