Willow Canyon beat Cibola to win the Aztec Basketball Classic

December 22, 2021 by Andy Morales, AZPreps365

(Andy Morales/AZPreps365)

Willow Canyon beat Cibola 71-53 Wednesday night to capture the championship of the Aztec Basketball Classic held at Pima Community College. The Wildcats improved to 10-3 on the year under Joseph Colletti with the next game on the schedule slated for Jan.1 against Metro Tech (5-5) at the Footprint Arena.

Willow Canyon is on an incredible run that began last season when the team put together a 15-3 record that included a spot in the 5A quarterfinals. It was the first playoff appearance for the program in over a decade and the run included a 65-63 victory over Nogales in the opening round and a 58-37 loss to Catalina Foothills in the quarterfinals. The Wildcats had a rematch of sorts with Nogales in the semifinals of the Aztec Classic on Tuesday and the team came away with a 75-50 win but Cibola beat Catalina Foothills 60-56 in the other semifinal to deny the team a rematch with the Falcons in the championship game.

Cibola (8-4) made the quarterfinals in 2015 but the program has had a difficult time since then, but this year looks promising especially after the team beat the defending 5A state champion Tuesday night to set up the final with Willow Canyon.

Willow Canyon senior Pike Tancil led all scorers with 17 points, David Bright added 16 points and Tate DeBoer finished with 10. Tancil passed the 1,000 career point mark this year and he, along with team filled with seniors, experienced the difficult times and the more recent good times and he hopes the current group of leaders have been able to change the culture to expect success.

Derek Stanley scored 11 points and Jared Arias scored 10 points to help lead Cibola to a runner-up finish in Tucson. Cibola will host Desert Ridge (6-5) on Jan. 4. The first set of AIA power-rankings will be released on Jan. 6 and games played during invitationals are not figured into the ranking formula.