GIRLS HOOPS: Tucson beat Maryvale 59-43; Maryvale set to host the Cactus Jam

December 20, 2018 by Andy Morales, AZPreps365

Tucson senior Jordan Lopez (42) is breaking down the press. (Andy Morales/

No. 13 Tucson beat No. 22 Maryvale 59-43 Thursday night at home to open up 6A Metro Region play for both squads. Tucson improved to 8-6 overall, 5-4 in power-ranking games and 1-0 in region play while Maryvale fell to 4-6, 4-3 and 0-1 in the Metro Region.

The Badgers were coming off a difficult 68-29 loss to No. 2 Pinnacle and the team rebounded nicely by taking an 18-0 lead over the Panthers to open the game and then went on to take a 35-16 lead to end the first half.

Estrella Parra, Mawata Demaih and Arelis Cortez scored 13 points each to lead Maryvale but the Badgers continued to add to their lead and increased the margin to 55-28 heading into the fourth. The Panthers outscored Tucson down the stretch to cut the final margin down to 59-43.

Maryvale opened up the regular season with four straight wins but three straight setbacks in the past week has the team struggling to stay in the top 24 in the 6A Conference. The team will have a chance to regroup over the winter break while the school hosts the “Cactus Jam,” an important invitational featuring boys and girls teams from Washington, Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky, Alaska, Oregon, California, Pennsylvania, New York and Arizona.

The Cactus Jam will be played at Maryvale and Scottsdale Christian from Dec. 26-29.

Kyla Stembridge led the Badgers with 12 points while Ashlyn Bohn scored 11, Skylar Begay added 10 and Ahidali Dehuelbes finished with nine.

As mentioned before, the Badgers struggled a bit heading into the game against Maryvale, losing four of their last five games, but a strong strength of schedule has the team in good position heading into region play where the team figures to be slight favorites to take the title. Although a region title does not guarantee a playoff spot in the 6A Conference, winning the region should provide enough power points to reserve a spot to the play-in tournament at the very least.

Tucson usually plays in the Pusch Ridge Desert Classic over the inter break but the tournament will not be held this year so the Badgers will be traveling to Prescott to take part in the Lady Badgers Winter Classic from Dec. 28-29.

Mingus, Mountain Ridge, Copper Canyon, Bradshaw Mountain, Salpointe, Lee Williams, Cibola, Valley Lutheran, Prescott, Mohave, Tucson, Phoenix Country Day, Tolleson, Paradise Valley, Kellis and Apollo are all slated to take part in the Prescott tournament.