The Maricopa High School girls’ basketball team climbed up the 5A rankings in the final week of play to finish seventh.
That automatically qualifies the Rams for a slot in the state tournament. The bracket will be announced Sunday. The state tourney, which Arizona Interscholastic Association calls February Frenzy, starts Tuesday.
Winning the final six games of the season, Maricopa is 21-4 overall.
The final two games were on the road. The Rams defeated Williams Field 57-30. They were led by 22 points from senior Tyra Williams and 12 each from junior Sydni Callis and senior Clara Morris. Williams and junior Natausha Hall each had eight rebounds, and Callis had eight steals.
At Apollo, a 5A Metro rival, Maricopa ran over the Hawks 63-38. Callis led the scoring with 18 points. Junior Jayla Johnson scored 17, and Williams contributed 14. Hall led the rebounding with 10, while Callis had 12 assists and eight steals.
The dominating play of the Rams lifted them three places from their No. 10 ranking at the start of last week.
Teams ranked 9-24 must compete in the conference play-in tournament. Instead, the Rams get a rest.
Maricopa’s boys’ team has a bigger, more immediate challenge.
Posting a 17-10 overall record, the Maricopa boys’ team achieved a 23rd ranking in 5A. That landed them a spot in the conference play-in tournament for a chance to qualify for the state tournament.
The Rams are set to play Deer Valley on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Deer Valley High School in Glendale in the conference tourney.
Head coach Tony Fuller said staff has been watching tapes of 10th-ranked Deer Valley extensively.
“They are an excellent team,” he said. “They have a good guard, good post guys. They’re a lot like us. They’re big and their tough, but I think we’re ready.”
The Rams had lost some players to academic problems, but they are reloaded. The ranking of 23 is now considered imaginary by the coach.
“We’re healthy and we’ve got everybody back,” Fuller said. “The guys are trying to do something that hasn’t been done here in a very long time.”