Proving that rankings and seedings do not define a team, the Maricopa Rams upset Tucson High Magnet School in a thrilling come-from-way-behind playoff game that shot them into the state quarterfinals.
The Rams pulled off the 52-50 second-round win Friday on Tucson’s court after trailing by as many as 16 points. The Badgers had won 14 in a row and seemed to be rolling.
Coach Kati Burrows already saw her team standing equal with the Badgers. That was despite being ranked 12th while Tucson was fifth.
“We definitely have a chance,” she said before the game. “We just need to make sure we do the right things.”
They did not seem to be doing the right things in the first half, but again (just as they did earlier against Douglas) they pulled it together to play the kind of basketball that has stamped their season.
Maricopa got into trouble in the first quarter by letting the Badgers score 10 unanswered points. Tucson’s standout junior, Alexis Cortez, was having her way with the Rams.
After falling back 25-10, the visitors started to claw back late in the second quarter. At the half, Tucson’s lead was 31-21.
Then suddenly the Rams were doing all the right things.
***ADVERTISEMENT***They scored six straight at the opening of the second half and clamped down on defense. The Badgers were on their heels as Maricopa pressed hard. At the midway point of the fourth quarter, the Tucson lead was down to two, 45-43.
With 53 seconds left, the Rams took a 49-47 lead, their first since the first points of the game. A minute later, Maricopa was in the quarterfinals.
The quarterfinal matchup is against No. 4 Flagstaff, which pasted Casa Grande Friday, 62-38. They play Wednesday at the Gila River Arena in Glendale. The time has not yet been determined.