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Pueblo charge falls short vs. Cienega




Powered by an early 11-0 run and a 25-18 lead at the end of the first quarter, the No. 13 Pueblo High School boys basketball team had upset on its mind in the opening-round of the Class 4A Division I state playoffs Tuesday night.

Cienega had other plans.

The host Bobcats, the tournament’s No. 4 seed, got 23 points from Brandon Burnett and outscored Pueblo in each of the next three quarters to pull off a 79-69 win to advance to Friday’s 4A-I quarterfinals against No. 5 Catalina Foothills.

Cienega opened the game with three straight 3-pointers before Pueblo took charge early.

“After we hit those three shots, we fell in love with that shot,” Burnett said. “But (we) realized they weren’t going to fall all night. We started going inside to the basket and drawing fouls.”

The win was Cienega’s 14th straight.

Pueblo got a valiant effort and a game-high 31 points from junior guard Michael Perez, who has been playing the last few weeks with a broken bone in his lower back.

Perez’s jumper with 4:38 left in the third quarter helped Pueblo pull within 43-41, but it was as close as it got.

Cienega again pulled away and led by as many as 13 in the fourth quarter.

“We came a long way this year,” Perez said. “We expected to be here; this is where we wanted to be. Basketball is a game of runs and we had our little run.”

Pueblo ended the season with an 18-11 record.

Cienega will host Friday’s quarterfinal against a Foothills team it beat by 14 (56-42) on Dec. 29 in the MaxPreps Holiday Classic in San Diego.

No. 5 Catalina Foothills 58, No. 12 Goodyear Millennium 51: At Catalina Foothills, Sterling North scored 20 points and teammate Connor Bailey added 18 as the Falcons advanced to the quartefinals.

Foothills will play at Cienega at 7 p.m. Friday.

No. 2 Avondale Agua Fria 80, No. 15 Sabino 65: At Goodyear Desert Edge High School, John Lohmeier’s 22 points, including three 3-pointers, wasn’t enough for the Sabercats Tuesday night on the road.

Sabino, which also got 17 points from junior Matt Korchek, ended with a 20-9 record.

No. 1 Phoenix Sunnyslope 90, No. 16 Cholla 34: At Sunnyslope, Cholla, which played its way into the state tournament with a pair of upset wins in last week’s 4A Sonoran Region tournament, couldn’t keep up with the state tournament’s top seed and finished with a 6-21 record.

Class 4A Division II

With his team trailing entering the fourth quarter, Amphi’s Chris Johnson picked the right time for an offensive explosion.

The 6-foot-2 forward scored 13 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter, leading No. 3 Amphi to a 71-66 home win over No. 14 Buckeye in the first round of the Class 4A Division II state playoffs Tuesday night.

“I came out and played hard and pumped it up and played defense and the baskets went in,” said Johnson.

The Panthers benefited from more than just Johnson’s offense.

“He’s our emotional leader and when he’s on, he’s the man,” Amphi coach Ben Hurley said.

Buckeye took its first lead with 53 seconds remaining in the third quarter on a Taijreion Johnson three-point play that made the score 46-45.

“We knew that they were going to make a run because they are a high- powered team and they did,” Hurley said.

Xavier Frodge had 13 points and Malcolm Millner added 12 for Amphi. Aaron Butler led Buckeye with 18 points.

Amphi will host No. 11 Gilbert Perry on Friday at 7 p.m. in the 4A-II quarterfinals.

No. 2 Santa Rita 89, No. 15 Phoenix Washington 69: At Santa Rita, Terrell Stoglin scored 28 points and dished out 10 assists in the win.

Stoglin, a junior, is hoping to lead his team to its third straight 4A-II championship game. Santa Rita has lost in the title game each of the past two seasons.

Santa Rita’s Mark Simmons added 21 points for the Eagles, who host No. 7 Scottsdale Arcadia at 7 p.m. Friday in the 4A-II quarterfinals.

No. 4 Phoenix Cortez 78, No. 13 Palo Verde 69: At Cortez, five Palo Verde players scored in double figures led by University of Arizona football signee Adam Hall’s 15 points, but it wasn’t enough for the Titans on the road in the state opening round.

Palo Verde’s Derrion Coleman followed Hall with 13 points, Juan Serrano had 11 and Devonte Harkins and Dorian Page scored 10 in the loss.

Palo Verde ended with a 15-12 record and finished third in the 4A Gila Region, one of the state’s most competitive at the 4A-II level.

Class 5A Division I

Tucson High got 22 points from Shakur Smith in a 56-52 win over Casa Grande to advance to Thursday’s 5A-I Southern Region semifinal against Salpointe, which will be played at Mountain View High School.

High School Sports Editor Geoff Grammer contributed to this article.


The Class 4A Division I and Division II boys and girls state basketball tournaments resume at 7 p.m. Friday at the schools of the higher-seeded team.


Class 4A Division I

> No. 9 Prescott at No. 1 Canyon del Oro

> No. 6 Sahuaro at No. 3 Cave Creek Cactus Shadows

Class 4A Division II

> No. 8 Douglas at No. 1 Page

> No. 5 Cottonwood Mingus at No. 4 Palo Verde


Class 4A Division I

> No. 5 Catalina Foothills at No. 4 Cienega

Class 4A Division II

> No. 11 Gilbert Perry at No. 3 Amphi

> No. 7 Scottsdale Arcadia at No. 2 Santa Rita


Eight of southern Arizona’s Class 4A boys and girls basketball teams advanced Tuesday to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs:


Douglas, Palo Verde, Canyon del Oro, Sahuaro


Amphi, Santa Rita, Cienega, Catalina Foothills

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