Williams Field pulls away from Rams


The Maricopa boys basketball team grabbed the lead with a first-quarter surge but was unable to sustain the momentum in a 57-40 loss against Gilbert Williams Field on Tuesday night.

Late in the opening period of the Class 4A-II East Sky Region match-up, everything seemed to be going the Rams’ way.

A drive to the basket by Justin Warren, a three-pointer by K.J. Diehl, two fast-break layups by Warren and a triple at the buzzer by Fernando Estrada carried the Rams to a quarter-ending 12-2 run that gave them a 16-12 lead.

“We were hoping we could maintain our offensive execution when we started scoring and getting our layups,” Maricopa co-coach Charles Litt said. “We wanted to come out and go on another run.”

The visiting Black Hawks prevented it from happening, as they scored 10 consecutive points early in the second quarter.

Tom Ross ignited the Williams Field rally with a pair of three-pointers, the first tying the score at 18-18 and the second putting the Black Hawks ahead to stay at 21-18. Ross then drove to the basket to increase the margin to 23-18, and Ray Gibson converted a layup to make it 25-18.
Williams Field (9-7 overall, 6-3 East Sky Region) led 31-22 at halftime and went ahead 38-26 when Ross hit another three-pointer midway through the third quarter.

The Rams (5-18, 0-11) pulled within 44-36 on a putback by Marcus Lowe with 5:29 remaining in the fourth. After a three-point play by Estrada on a 6-foot runner in the lane and subsequent free throw reduced the Maricopa deficit to 46-39, Williams Field outscored the Rams 11-1 over the final 4:31.

“This group of kids, they get out there and they play hard,” Maricopa coach Andy Branchik said. “They get after it. But then sometimes we are our own worst enemy. We missed makeable shots. We didn’t really shoot that well from the free-throw line tonight (making just 4 of 16 foul shots). Those are things that you have to capitalize on. When the other team gives you opportunities, you have to take full advantage of those.”

Williams Field’s Ross finished with 21 points to lead all scorers, while his teammates Steve Larkin and Gibson added 12 points each.

Lowe, a junior forward, led Maricopa with 10 points and nine rebounds.

“We’re really proud of Marcus,” Branchik said. “This is his first year of playing basketball. Marcus is improving every game, and he is really getting thrown into a role where he is an important piece of this puzzle.”

The Rams also got eight points and eight rebounds from Estrada, six points and seven rebounds from Richard Poyner, and seven points and three rebounds from Warren.