After the inaugural season of the 5A Metro region’s winter sports, Maricopa High School athletes have drawn notice.
Senior Tyra Williams was named Region Player of the Year in girls’ basketball. She called the honor “awesome.”
Williams averaged 18.4 points per game this year (fifth in the 5A conference), totaling 461. She had 216 rebounds, 87 steals, 32 assists and 56 blocks. Her season high was 33 points in a win over McClintock.
“I’m going to South Mountain [Community College] for a year; then I’m going to transfer to NAU,” she said.
At South Mountain she will be in familiar company. Former Rams Raegene Womack, the Cougars’ top player this season, and Ashliegh Haley were both part of MHS’s 2015 state championship team.
Maricopa’s Melvin Mitchell was named 5A Metro’s first Region Coach of the Year.
“I thought it was really, really cool,” he said. “It definitely feels pretty good to get the honor.”
But Mitchell also felt the honor from other coaches was due to their low expectations of his team after graduating seven seniors including stars like Womack and Danae Ruiz, who has gone on to lead the women’s team at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
“They figured we’d be OK but not worthy of making the run,” Mitchell said.
The Rams finished on top of the region, eking out a winning percentage fractions better than rival Ironwood. Maricopa lost in the first round of the state playoffs to Ironwood Ridge finishing the season 22-5.
Mitchell had even higher expectations of his team, knowing their hard work, scoring ability and the Maricopa calling card of pressure defense. Even with Williams graduating this year, he has high hopes for next year’s team, with two team leaders coming back – Sydni Callis and Jayla Johnson – and some 6-foot girls moving up from junior varsity.
Callis, a junior, was named First Team All Region. She was second in the conference in steals with 6.4 per game and fourth in assists, averaging 5.6. She averaged 11.5 points and totaled 129 rebounds. Johnson, a sophomore, was named Second Team All Region after averaging 10.9 points. She had 90 steals and 47 assists.
“I think Jayla and Sydni are two of the best in the backcourt in the state, but I might be biased,” Mitchell said.
Among the boys, junior Josh Johnson was named First Team All Region after leading the team into the state playoffs. Senior Darrell Handy-Johnson, in his first season for Maricopa, was given honorable mention.
Apollo’s Holland Woods, who averaged 27 points a game, was Region Player of the Year, and coach Jacob Marin was named Region Coach of the Year.
Four MHS soccer players were First Team picks in 5A Metro.
Midfielder Jacob Padilla and defender Elijah Aviles, both seniors, were named to the boys’ first team, with junior forward Diego Castro making Second Team All Region. The Rams were 8-8-1 overall.
For the girls, senior forward Amanda Maciel, who scored 24 goals, and senior defender Lauren Davis were named First Team All Region. Sophomore forward Shannon Coutre and defender Taylor Russo were named Second Team All Region. The girls were 11-7-1 overall.