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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


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Sahuaro Basketball Sweeps Paradise Honors

Marley Gandee

Sahuaro High School experienced a rare playoff occurrence this past Thursday, February 22nd. Our girls and boys’ basketball teams played on the same night against the same team – the Paradise Honors Panthers – and…drumroll, please…they both won!! These games were part of round one of the 4A Arizona basketball state championships.

After winning the 6 pm tip-off for the boys’ game, the first points went to Nick Ponds, a senior and captain for Cougars, who sunk a three-point shot. The first quarter was intense, fast-paced, and defensively strong. The offense was slow to start, as both teams were still getting warmed up for the game that was to come. By the end of the quarter, Sahuaro had a 12-10 lead.

The second quarter brought more scoring, especially for Sahuaro, who scored 17 points to the Panthers’ 11. With two minutes left in the half, the Cougars were up 25-18, and they finished off the half up 29-21. The student section was loud and proud, especially with the girls’ basketball team cheering on their counterparts as they awaited their game.

The first points of the half went to the Panthers, but the Cougars soon answered back with two points. For a couple of possessions, the game went back and forth on scoring before Paradise Honors took off with a 6-point run. Down only five points, a tie was within reach for the Panthers, but a technical foul stopped the opportunity for more unanswered scoring for Paradise Honors. The 3rd quarter ended with a score of 45-40 in favor of Sahuaro, and a very close, but unsuccessful half-court attempt from Cisco Llamas, a sophomore point guard.

The fourth quarter brought even more success for the Sahuaro Cougars, who had a 14-point lead with 5:04 left in the game. Both teams played passionately for the remainder of the game, but the Cougars still came out on top with a score of 64-47 to end the game.

Following the boys’ game, Sahuaro Head Coach Jim Henry said the Cougar’s biggest strength was, “The guys played together as a team. They threw a really difficult defense at for us to figure out and the guys had to really…figure it out on the fly…”

Next, it was time for the girls to play. Prior to the girls’ game, Cassandra “Cassie” Coolidge, a senior and point guard for Sahuaro said that the energy and the crowd were going to be big factors for the game. “I think it’s going to get us really hyped – the boys playing before us, so I just hope morale is good. I just hope we bring a lot of energy out on the court,” she said.

After an energetic warmup, the Panthers won the tip-off, but the Cougars secured the first possession. The game started with early three-pointers for both teams. At 2:10 left in the first quarter, the game was tied 11-11. A significant part of this game was the fouling situation. With only 1:06 left in the quarter, the Cougars had five fouls compared to the Panthers’ one. The Cougars took the advantage going into the second quarter, with a score of 18-14.

Unfortunately for the Cougars, the Panthers pulled ahead with 5:45 left in the half and a score of 18-20. Sahuaro, however, wasn’t going to let the Panthers go so easily and got themselves an eight-point run…and the game back. The half ended with a score of 31-25.

In the second half, the Cougars started with possession, but quickly turned it over. However, the Cougars did not let this control the outcome of the entire quarter. The Cougars were able to secure a 6-point run, this time ended by a free throw shot after a foul. The student section rose up and roared and the Ice Spice flag made her appearance (shoutout to whoever brings that flag).

Rolling right into the fourth quarter, the Cougars started with the ball, and yet again had a turnover. In this quarter, the fouls took their ultimate effect. Both #15 and #2 for the Panthers fouled out, which took a huge toll on the Panthers. #2, Morgan Van Dyke, leads the team in points, rebounds, steals, and assists, per game and totals. Having her out seemed to have a negative effect on the team. Eventually, the Cougars won 52-42.

In a pre-game interview, Cassie mentioned that the most vital part the team would need to work on …”is defense, and we need to transition really well tonight.” Based on the score, the Cougars clearly achieved that, but from an inside perspective, Assistant Coach Kinter said, “The girl on the other team, she was number two, we had a few girls guarding her and switching off. That was our main focus, and I think they did a really good job on her as well as covering the floor when they had the help.”

In response to a late-in-the-game run of steals, Coach Botkin shared, “I was so proud of them. We were setting up our press and we were just trying to play man-to-man and get in the passing lanes and steal every ball that we could steal…I think late in the game like that when you’re kind of tired like that it tells you a little bit about your character.”

The Sahuaro boys and girls both moved on to the quarterfinals, where the boys beat Dysart High School 60-57, and the girls lost to Estrella Foothills, 57-43. The boys will move on to the semifinals, playing on Monday against the American Leadership Academy – Gilbert North. Unfortunately for the girls, their playoff run is over…until next year.

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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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