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Delivering Sahuaro's Cutting Edge News & Saving Trees

The Paper Cut

Delivering Sahuaro's Cutting Edge News & Saving Trees

The Paper Cut

Sahuaro Girls’ Varisty Basketball’s Exciting Win Against Estrella Foothills

Marley Gandee
Sahuaro Girls’ Varsity Basketball huddles up before their big game
Senior Alina Bowden taking free throw shots

Sahuaro Girls’ Varsity Basketball started their open bracket (meaning they compete with the top high schools in all divisions of Arizona) run with a bang, and an incredible win over Estrella Foothills. From the warmups to the 51-43 win, the game’s intensity was unwavering. Both teams were excited to play, and Sahuaro especially displayed it in their warmups.

The first quarter started with relatively strong defense from Sahuaro, but their offense was struggling. They were held to four points, while Estrella Foothills scored 7.

Point guard Dinorah Lagarda-Pacheco taking the ball down the court

In the second quarter, Sahuaro again struggled to get much moving offensively. Whether it was fouls, bad passes, or missed shots, the Cougars were unable to string together much more than a few solid plays, and the Wolves capitalized on it. They surged ahead to an eight-point lead and ended the half ahead at 18-10.

Though the second half started off promising, with a quick six-point run from shooting guard Kristen “Kris” Valdez, things turned quickly back to the hands of Estrella Foothills. Cassandra “Cassie” Coolidge took an impressive charge foul, but things continued to go south for Sahuaro as the Wolves switched into a full-court press. Sahuaro was faced with a ten-point deficit and a score of 34-24 to end the 3rd quarter.

Cougar’s Varsity Basketball getting pumped up before the game

Things were looking inauspicious for the Cougars, but the team was able to turn it around for the final quarter. The Cougar Cage was loud and proud with their Ice Spice flag in attendance, which only helped the intensity of the game. Ny’anza Brown scored two, two-point buckets, followed by four more points from Cassie. The score was 39-32, still in favor of the Wolves, but the game was suddenly going in the opposite direction for them. During an inbounds play, an Estrella Foothills player pushed one of the Cougars, which handed possession to Sahuaro. Cassie turned this opportunity into a three-point play, meaning the Cougars only needed four more points for a tie. The Cougars achieved this through a steal and two more points for Cassie, followed by two technical shots made by Kris. The game was tied and from there on out; Sahuaro dominated and pulled through to outscore the Wolves 27-9 in the last quarter, which was where the game was ultimately won.

Cassandra “Cassie” Coolidge attempting a shot

Following the close game, head coach Steve Botkin shared that even though the game seemed to be going much to Estrella Foothill’s advantage, the Cougars were still holding their own. “…we held them pretty much all game. They’re averaging about 74 points a game and when we had them at 20-something at half-time I felt like we had them out of their comfort zone and we were playing really well defensively, we just weren’t scoring.” It took some encouragement from Coach Botkin, telling them, “…’We aren’t out of it.’ They were starting to look a little bit down…and I just said, ‘Keep your heads up. This game is not over. We aren’t going to get ten points in one bucket, we gotta get two or three at a time.'”

Ny’Anza Brown defending a shot from the Wolves

From the side of the players, senior point guard Dinorah Lagarda-Pacheco shared that to secure the win they needed to pick up the energy, especially on defense. “They start kind of shoving us, playing a little bit dirty and that kind of gave us that motive…All of us know, no matter win or lose, we weren’t done yet.”

Looking ahead to next week, the Cougars will have their work cut out for them. Continuing in the open playoff bracket, they will play Xavier College Prep, who is currently ranked #2 in Arizona compared to the Cougars’ #36. However, according to Coach Boktin, the underdogs feel confident. “They’re going to be good…they’re number two, so we’ve got our work cut out for us, but like we were talking about in there, we all feel like we’ve got a chance because they’re not looking at us…as someone that can beat them, but we think we can beat anyone.”

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About the Contributor
Marley Gandee
Marley Gandee, Editor-in-Chief
Marley Gandee is a junior here at Sahuaro High School. This is her third year in the Paper Cut, and she is now the Editor-in-Chief. She loves working on articles, interviewing students and staff, and editing. She also loves her dog, Amilea, and her family's new kitten, Clif. She enjoys listening to many different genres of music; some of her favorite bands/artists include CCR, The Rolling Stone, ABBA, Toby Mac, and Ben Rector. Another pastime of hers is watching T.V., such as Modern Family and Gilmore Girls. During her eighth grade year when she lived in Alaska, she won the middle school science fair, the district science fair, her category in State, and went on to Nationals. However due to COVID, she was unable to actually participate in-person. It was all online. As for the future, Marley isn't one hundred percent on what she wants to do yet. She knows she wants to follow in her grandfather's footsteps and go to Washington State University. Currently, she wants to be a doctor or a reporter for a newspaper on the East Coast. She feels that participating in journalism, especially in the future gives her the opportunity to create change.

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