The Maricopa Rams placed second for coach Melvin Mitchell at the Scorpion Shootout over Thanksgiving weekend. They are on the road tonight at Casa Grande. Thursday, senior Danae Ruiz (left) is expected to sign a letter of intent to play for Embry-Riddle. Photo by William Lange

The Maricopa High School girls’ basketball team finished second in the Scorpion Shootout tournament at Desert Edge High School in Goodyear over the weekend.

The Rams won their first three games in dominant fashion before running into Arizona Interscholastic Association Division I powerhouse Xavier College Prep in the tournament’s championship game. The Gators of Xavier took advantage of Maricopa’s size disadvantage and won the tournament with a 69-48 victory.

“Xavier exploited some of our weaknesses, but we understand that there is still plenty of work to be done,” head coach Melvin Mitchell said. “Finishing second definitely broadened our perspective.”

Against the competition within Maricopa’s Division II, the Rams dominated. Maricopa started the tournament with a 52-17 win over Sabino High School out of Tucson Friday morning and followed it up with a 74-59 win over Tucson Magnet High School Friday night.

Coming off of a dominant first day of the tournament, the Rams beat tournament host Desert Edge 47-27 Saturday morning to advance to the tournament championship Saturday night.

“Overall the team did quite well,” Mitchell said. “We still need to work on our transition defense, offensive tweaking, boxing out and doing the little things that’ll be beneficial in the long run.”

Maricopa will take on the Casa Grande High School Cougars on the road tonight before hosting their first home game of the season on Thursday at 7 p.m. against Buena High School (Sierra Vista).

Also Thursday, senior guard Danae Ruiz is expected to sign a letter of intent to play for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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