Ray, Hayden basketball teams reach State Championship Tournament

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  The Ray boys’ and girls’ basketball teams along with the Hayden girls’ team will begin their quest for the 2018 1A State Championship this week in Prescott.

  The AIA announced the 16-team field, seedings and first-round games during its selection show last Saturday.

  The No. 3-seed Ray girls’ team, with a record of 21-6-1, will face No. 14 Bowie/San Simon (14-9) in the first round on Friday, Feb. 16, at Prescott High School. The game is scheduled for 10:30 a.m.

  With a win, the Lady Cats would play the winner between No. 6 Mogollon and No. 11 Red Mesa in the quarterfinals on Saturday, Feb. 17. Game location and time will be announced later this week.

  Ray enters the tournament with high expectations considering two of their six losses were against 4A Higley and 5A Willow Canyon. Two other losses were against Ft. Thomas, the top seed in the girls’ bracket.

  Defense wins championships, according to at least one Ray player.

  “We need to stay focused on our defense and not let up any back door or easy shots,” Lady Cats’ sophomore leading scorer Shelby Yocum answered when asked what her team needs to do to have success this weekend.

  No. 15-seed Hayden (12-8) takes on No. 2 Sat Michael (18-6) in the opening round on Friday at Bradshaw Mountain High School. Tipoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.

  The winner between the Lady Lobos and the Cardinals will face either No. 10 Anthem Prep or No. 7 St. David on Saturday.

  The No. 13-seed Ray boys’ team will open the state tournament against No. 4-seed and defending 1A State Champion NFL Yet Academy on Friday at Prescott High School. The game is scheduled for 9 a.m.

  Friday’s game between the teams will be the third this season with the Eagles cruising to lopsided wins in the previous two meetings.

  The winner will face either No. 5 Williams or No. 12 Baboquivari in Saturday’s quarterfinal game.

  The complete brackets can be viewed at:  http://bit.ly/2BrvDwO

Andy Luberda (1080 Posts)

Andrew Luberda began writing for Copper Area News Publishers (CANP) in February 2013 after working 15 years in Healthcare Financial Management. Andy covers sports for 11 high schools. His stories are published in Copper Basin News, San Manuel Miner and Superior Sun, in addition to the San Tan Valley Daily PRSS and CopperArea websites. Additionally, he has written human interest stories and business profiles. In May 2012, he earned an AAS in Sports Management at Central Arizona College before graduating with a BS in Communication from Arizona State University in 2014. He and his wife, Kelli, have three sons – AJ, Kyle, and Kade.


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