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Yuma Catholic beats Kofa to advance
Friday wasn't a good night for the bigger schools in the county to face the Yuma Catholic boys basketball team.
The Shamrocks got a big game out of sophomore post Matt Pistone and beat Kofa 62-43 in a loser bracket semifinal at the Southwest Rotary Classic on Friday at Cibola.
To get to the Kings, Yuma Catholic took down Gila Ridge 64-42.
“They know each other. And being at a different level at Division IV, you don't have a lot of local schools,” Yuma Catholic coach Brooks Neumann said. “So when we're playing Cibola, Kofa, Gila Ridge, it makes it a lot more exciting.”
The last time the Shamrocks faced the Kings was in 2010, when the Kings came away with a 57-40 win and Yuma Catholic (8-1) had never played Gila Ridge before.
“It always feels good to win but against a bigger school in Yuma, it shows we can play with the bigger schools,” said Shamrocks point guard Carter Rodriguez, who finished with 15 points and four assists in the win over Kofa.
The Kings, which blew past Mountain View Christian in the morning game with a big performance by sophomore guard Isaac Coronado, had trouble stopping the 6-foot-3 Pistone. The sophomore finished with 20 points on 8 for 10 shooting and six rebounds in the win.
“Sometimes he likes to drift outside, but his bread and butter is inside,” Neumann said.
“Although we were overmatched in the paint, I think we could have done a better job on the boards,” Kofa coach Danilo Montialli said.
The Kings (3-8) had 10 players score with senior wing Manny Camacho with a team-high eight points.
“It's a learning process but I'm pleased on how my kids fought,” Montialli said of the Kings, who have only one returner from last season. “It's just a matter of can we mesh playing together.”
For the Shamrocks, much of the team is back from last season but they are battling having eight players – including Rodriguez and Pistone – who were on the Yuma Catholic's football team that made another deep run in the playoffs this fall.
“We're finally starting to look like a basketball team. Our shots are falling. It's taken a while,” Neumann said. “I knew we were going to be good. I'm not sure how good we are yet.”
Yuma Catholic faces The King's School from Sydney, Australia in the loser bracket championship at 12:30 p.m. today at Cibola.
“I watched them play today,” Neumann said of The King's School, which beat Lake Havasu 33-30 in the other semifinal and lost 58-46 to Cibola in the first round. “They're really well-coached and pass the ball really well. It's really a hard match-up because we like to go up and down and they're methodical. They're going to be a good test.”
The game against The King's School comes after the Shamrocks sent a message to the bigger schools in Yuma.
“We went out to prove ourselves that we play at the same level as them,” Pistone said.