No. 3 Sierra Linda (26-2) and No. 6 Cienega (18-6) are all set to battle in the bottom half of the 5A semifinals scheduled for Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Grand Canyon University.
CATS & DOGS
The Bobcats got past No. 10 Ironwood (43-37) in the first round and then upset No. 2 Arcadia (45-41) in the quarterfinals while the Bulldogs have come through untested against No. 14 Liberty (55-24) and No. 6 Desert Edge (31-22) to set up the semifinal against Cienega.
This will be the second semifinal trip for Cienega. Paul Reed led the Bobcats to the Division II title game in 2014 but came up short against Karen Self and Seton Catholic (37-30). Second-year head coach Deia Turner is now 38-9 at Cienega.
The Bobcats made it to the Division II second round last year.
The Bulldogs have never been to a championship game but head coach Desirae Carranza has slowly built the team from a first-ever playoff appearance in 2014 to a semifinal finish last year where the Bulldogs lost by one point to Cactus Shadows.
Carranza has a 127-25 record since she took over in 2012. Her 100th career victory came in the quarterfinals last year.
The two teams have never met.
Junior Janae Gonzales is leading Sierra Linda with 17.3 points per game, Sr. Janay Bojorquez is scoring 9.2 and Sr. Cheyenne Lee is right behind at 9.0. Gonzales takes seven 3-pointers a game and hits on almost three. Jr. Raenesha Willis and Jr. Lonntiay Wiiliams also figure big with the Bulldogs.
Jr. Wednesday Lewis leads the Bobcats with 11.6 points a game, Sr. Keva Mack has 10.2 and Jr. Lauren Green is putting in 9.9 a game. Green is averaging nine rebounds a game and almost three blocked shots. Jr. Gwyne McCormack and So. Julie Hoover round out the top five.
Sierra Linda lost to No. 1 Mesquite (70-41) and No. 4 Chaparral (66-59) in the regular season.