Desert Christian and San Simon split the night in a Tucson South Region battle

January 23, 2021 by Andy Morales, AZPreps365

(Andy Morales/AZPreps365)

The Desert Christian girls improved to 1-1 on the year after holding off San Simon 27-17 at home Friday night. The loss dropped the Longhorns to 0-3 on the year in the newly formed 1A Tucson South Region that encompasses programs from San Manuel to the north to Elfrida Valley Union to the south. The region also reaches to the eastern edges of the state with Duncan High School holding fort there and Oro Valley Immaculate Heart serves as the western boundary of the region.

In order to qualify for the state playoffs, teams in the 1A Conference must play a minimum of 10 games and play each of the teams in a given region once. The Tucson South Region is comprised of eight teams and only the 1A Central West Region has more teams with 10. Due to the difficulty of scheduling so many games, the top three teams in each of the four 1A regions will qualify for state – along with four at-large berths.

To accomplish this goal, teams will be competing almost every night come February which means the leaderboard will shuffle continually.

The game at Desert Christian was a low scoring affair with the Eagles clinging to a 3-1 lead after the first quarter and a 7-3 lead at the half. Most of the scoring took place in the fourth quarter with Desert Christian building on a 15-4 lead to end the game on the 27-17 margin of victory.

Junior forward Maddy Hebert led the Eagles with 10 points with eight points coming in the final period. Sr. G Reagan Barr added 5 points. For the Longhorns, So. Kaylee Essary scored 6 points.

The Longhorns have a very young team with only two seniors (Ember Kimball and Dakota Heap) but the Eagles are loaded with experience with seven seniors (Aimee McGuire, Kelsi Bridgewater, Baylee Lehman, Carly Crawford, Mackenzie Barr, Colette Dittiger and Reagan Barr). The Eagles competed in the 2A Conference last year and finished the year ranked No. 27 but the move to the 1A level might prove beneficial, especially with the senior leadership.

San Simon finished with a No. 20 ranking last year in the 1A level and it was the first year the school went without players from neighboring Bowie High School. Athletes from Bowie and San Simon combined forces prior to last year but Bowie athletes are now attached to Willcox.

The boys of San Simon had better success in the second game of the night as the Longhorns beat Desert Christian 34-23 to improve to 1-2 on the year. The Eagles fell to 0-3 on the year after a game where the team led from the beginning until AJ Dozier scored with 5:20 left to put San Simon up 22-21 for good.

Dozier led all scorers with 13 points but Rafe Heap scored all eight of his points in that deciding fourth quarter. Kayden Joyal and Caleb Charles scored six points each to lead Desert Christian.

Desert Christian finished No. 25 in the 2A Conference last year and the team dropped a close 56-54 loss to San Carlos in the section tournament. There will be no section tournaments this year but a committee will decide the four at-large berths mentioned above and the seeding for the 16-team bracket will also be determined by a committee as determined by the 1A leadership. Rankings have no bearing on the playoffs in the 1A level but the committee can use the rankings as a source for their decisions.

(Andy Morales/AZPreps365)