Small Town News


Raiders with break through win

Ajo Copper News of Ajo, Arizona

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On Tuesday, Ajo lost a hard- fought contest to Glendale Prep. On Friday, they followed up with a superb game, beating Paradise Honors. Glendale Prep 52, Ajo 46

Glendale (a 2A charter school in Phoenix) put a tall line-up on the floor plus a sharp-shooting guard. Their height gave them a strong lead in rebounds. Still, the Raiders showed good effort, and, for the first time this year, real heart as they fought back from an 18-point deficit. Glendale led 17-11 after the lsl, but Ajo scrapped back to 27-23 at the half. Devon Rendon's seven points led them, helped by a tightened defense.

The 3rd quarter was bad as Prep hammered Ajo 13-7, leading 40-30. That stretched to an 18-point lead in the 4lh. Then, with Jesus Mariscal and Josiah Nez's four 3-pointers, the Raiders closed within five points three times but couldn't get over the hump.

In a game that, in the minds of both coaches, was erratically officiated, Ajo was never awarded a shooting foul. A larger- and louder-than-normal home crowd delighted in the traditional criticism of the referees. In the end, it was Ajo's failure to play all four quarters with complete intensity that cost them the game.

Nez led Ajo with 18 as Jacob Lewis put in nine and Rendon finished with seven. Normally prolific Felix Corona's four showed that his shot was off, partially due to uncalled shooting fouls but mostly to the vagaries of basketball. He still gave maximum effort. Ajo 64, Paradise Honors 57

Coach Brian English called it "The best game we've played for four full quarters in the last two years." Ajo jumped on Paradise (another 2A school) from the beginning, leading at the Is', 17-12. The keys were a balanced attack with five players scoring and good defense. Ajo kept pushing and though the 2nd was tighter, Ajo led 31-22 at half. Corona already had 12 points.

Paradise came out hard in the third, outscoring Ajo, but solid effort by Charlie Tapp, Lewis, and Roberto Macias kept the Raiders ahead, 44-40. In the 4th, Nez exploded for 10 points and aided by seven more from Corona, the Raiders won going away. Nez and Corona each had 19. Lewis had 8, Tapp 5, and David Sanford 3. Great improvement was shown at the line as Ajo went 8-11.

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Original Publication Date: January 15, 2014

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