No doubt the largest crowd to attend a Gila Valley basketball game lately was on hand Monday night as Pima hosted Thatcher’s teams for the final games of the 2021 regular season.
Those on hand were treated to a pair of exciting games that went down to the final seconds to decide. Thatcher’s Lady Eagles emerged with a 63-61 win, while the Pima boys team came out on top, 58-53.
The Pima girls got off to a quick start, but the Lady Eagles got to within one point of the Roughriders at 11-12 at the 1:10 mark. Pima held Thatcher scoreless from that point on and the score was 17-11 when the first quarter came to an end.
Pima kept THS scoreless again at the start of the second period, putting up 10 more points before the Lady Eagles could light up the scoreboard, 27-13. The first half ended, 33-21 with Pima on top as the two teams left the court for the halftime intermission.
The Riders started the second half much like the first, going up 46-30 with three minute left in the third quarter.
The Lady Eagles then put together a 16-3 scoring run that cut Pima’s margin to just four points, 46-42 as the final quarter started.
With 3:16 left in the game things got really exciting when THS tied the score at 53.
Tied again 61-61 with 17-seconds left, Thatcher senior Mia Carter took the inbound pass and made her way down the left hand side of the court, then from the left wing in the three-point area she put up a shot. In trying to defend the shot Pima committed a foul sending Carter to the charity stripe for three free throws. Missing the first one, she then calmly sank the next two, 63-61.
The second game of the Monday night high school hoops double header was no less exciting than the first, as the Pima Roughriders and the Thatcher Eagles battled to 58-55 with Pima coming out on top.
This game, like the first, came down to a last second shot to decide the outcome.
In the first quarter the two teams went toe-to-toe and eyeball to eyeball and nobody blinked. Pima held a slim three point lead as the first period ended, 15-12.
Thatcher got their first lead of the game with 2:35 remaining in the first half, but Pima fought back to take a 31-29 lead at halftime.
The sounds in the gym grew louder and louder as the fans from both sides saw their teams battle it out. It was tied at 39-39 with a minute left in the third quarter.
The Eagles added five unanswered points to end the third on top, 44-39.
Back and forth, louder and louder, the fourth quarter was what basketball fans love to see; with 52 seconds left Pima caught Thatcher and tied the game at 55-55.
Then came that second that every kid playing basketball on his front driveway or in the school yard dreams of or pretends; The game winner in the last seconds. This time it happened for Pima player Kainoa Blair.
Blair came down the court, stopped at the top of the key and nailed the game winning three-point shot, 58-55.
All four teams entering the post season do so on a good leg, knowing that they made a fine showing on the final game of their 2021 seasons.
Ashlie Sherwood, 19.
Aubrie Sherwood, 15.
Saydee Allred, 11.
Nevaeh Grant, 9.
Ashlynn Chlarson, 7.
Olivia Lunt, 16.
Mia Carter, 15.
Cassidy Wakefield, 11.
Haley Nicholas and Ashlyn Thompson, both with 6.
Marleigh Nicholas, 5.
Aubrey Pace and Mickenzi Drage, both with 2.
Kenton Skiba, 15.
Jacob Brimhall, 13.
Tim Salyer, 12.
Trett Wiltbank, 9.
Kaleb Blair, 5.
Grant Ashby, 4.
TJ Reed, 22.
Bradley Curtis, 16.
Michael Greer and Cody Jones, both with 6.
Brandon Napier, 5.
Alex Mazzoli and Hudson Griffin, both with 2.