Pima basketball lands more local talent – beats Easternby Andy Morales on Jan. 27, 2013, under Sports
Julia Cooper, Brittany West, Melody McLaughlin, Alexa Arndt, Olivia Snyder and Gabby Courtney. That’s a winning all-star lineup right there and if all or some of the local standouts accept Todd Holthaus‘ invitation to play for Pima then next year will truly be another exciting year for the Aztecs.
Arndt is a 6-foot senior at Sabino and is averaging 10 points a game, Cooper is a guard at Catalina Foothills, averaging 14.7 points a game, Snyder is in the top 20 in the nation for scoring at a pace of over 30 points an outing, Courtney is the leader of Pusch Ridge with 14.5 points per game, West is scoring over 16 points a game for the resurgent Canyon del Oro squad and McLaughlin is the vocal and scoring leader at Mountain View and also brings just under 10 points a game.
Five of the six witnessed Pima’s (11-11) 88-80 win over Eastern Arizona (14-8) on Saturday afternoon. The win was not as easy as the score indicated and Snyder’s mom Robin felt the pressure despite the fact that her daughter will not suit up for the team until next year.
“I was really nervous,” explained Robin. “The game was a little too close but we are happy we are here.” Snyder’s parent’s expressed gratitude to the Pima coaching staff for choosing their daughter and feel she is up to the challenge of a higher-paced system.
“I feel it’s the pace I need,” said Snyder after watching Pima play. “I never expected to have this happen. I did this for fun earlier in high school but I started to take it all seriously my sophomore year and now I have a feel of what it will be like to play here,” she added.
Likewise, West was grateful that the Pima staff recognized the high level she has been playing this year. “Coach (Holthaus) told me after the Catalina Foothills game that he had no choice but to offer me a scholarship because of how I was playing,” she explained.
“He liked my style of play and now my family can watch me play next year,” she added.
Eastern opened the game up with a 7-0 run to take an early lead in an effort to sweep Pima to go along with their 10-point victory from November but Pima went on a run of their own to tie it up and go ahead 16-13 with 10 minutes left in the first half.
The teams would battle back and forth with several lead changes but, with the score tied 37-37 with 24.8 seconds left in the half, Eastern made four free throws and a 3-pointer as time expired to go into the locker room up 44-37.
Pima has several local standouts on their current roster including Alyssa Roche (Cienega), Raja Moreno (Tucson), A’jha Edwards (Tombstone) Chelsea Canham (CDO), Mya Perrow-Donovan (Ironwood Ridge) and redshirt freshmen Adrianna Barrientez (Palo Verde) and Alicia Jones (Palo Verde).
Roche, Edwards and Perrow-Donovan are sophomores and the team will also be losing guards Ashlei Scott (Chandler) and Da’Monique Davis (Tolleson) and forward Kellie Miller (Basha).
Pima had balanced scoring in the first half but Edwards, at 6-foot-5, started to exert her dominance inside and Moreno upped her defense to turn the tide for the Aztecs in the second half.
Roche bombed a 3-pointer to start the second half and Edwards pounded inside for eight of her 24 points to tie the game up at 50-50 with 14:37 left in the game. Eastern went back up 55-53 a few minutes later but Perrow-Donovan scored inside and Roche hit another 3-pointer to spark a 9-0 run.
Felicia Foster (Peoria) hit a 3-pointer to give the Aztecs an 11 point lead with 5:41 left in the game and Eastern could not recover.
Former Tucson High standout Holly Bolen played a few minutes for Eastern in the first half when the Pima forwards were held in check but it was difficult for the Gila Monsters to keep track of Edwards and Perrow-Donovan in the second half without her size and ability in the game.
Eastern standout Shaunice Robinson (Seattle) led all scorers with 26 points and Amara Wainwright (Sacramento) had 17 while Shakita Cox (Las Vegas) had 14.
Eastern only has two Arizonans on their roster. Besides Bolen, Flagstaff standout Rachel Kortsen suits up for the team.
Edwards scored her 24 points along with 13 rebounds (12th double-double of the year). Four other Aztecs scored in double figures with Roche (16), Foster (13), Shayna Porter (12) and Scott (11) joining Edwards. Porter played high school at Centennial.
Eastern hosts Tohono O’odham on Wednesday while Pima travels to Central on the same night. Their next home game will be against Chandler-Gilbert on Saturday, February 2 at 2 pm.
The Tucson High team watched Pima play. Local high schools have been taking turns watching Pima play this year.
I was present when Olivia Snyder accepted Pima’s offer after the game and it was rewarding to see someone grow in the four years I have been doing this. I am especially proud that the community sees what I saw in her a few years ago.
I hope to be around when current freshmen such as Tucson standout Alexis Cortez make their college choice in a few years.
I have posted this before but I think it’s worth reposting. These are my “Fab Freshmen” from this year:
Alexis Cortez, Tucson
Sydney Harden, Sahuaro
Lexy Ram, Ironwood Ridge
Tyree Honani, Catalina Foothills
Hannah Bjorgum, Desert Christian
Reazsha Benjamin, Sahuaro
Grant Plouck, Empire
Iturey Kitt, Santa Rita
Jacob Inclan, Sunnyside
Cameron Hodge, St. Gregory
Mark Lugo, St. Augustine
Harden’s grandfather is none other than former Arizona Wildcat Gene Moore who played for both Bruce Larson and Fred Snowden. Sadly, Moore passed away in 2010 but he and Larson got to watch their grandchildren Olivia Harden and Kelsey Larson play at Sahuaro before he passed.
At 6’5, Moore passed on a lot of his size to Sydney but she also got some ability from her father Alawnzo Brown. Brown was a former running back at CDO and set records there that held up until a back named Ka’Deem Carey showed up….