Lions open Division II playoffs at home - The Explorer: Sports

Lions open Division II playoffs at home

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Posted: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 4:00 am

The Pusch Ridge Christian Lions lost the Division-II regional tournament final to Palo Verde 42-41 on Saturday.

The result wasn’t that disappointing, as the endgame for the Lions all along was to qualify for the state playoffs, and possibly earn a home playoff game.

Noelle Soltero led the Lions with 14 points, while Gabrielle Courtney scored 12. Moriah Roters yanked down 13 rebounds.

The loss ended a week of achievement and excitement for the Lions, as they will now open the Division II-State Playoffs at home on Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m.

The Lions (16-5) are the ninth seed.

On Jan. 11, the Lions ended Flowing Wells’ 26-game win streak, winning 41-37 to reach the regional title game.

Courtney led the Lions with 11 points, while Abby Maas added 10.

However, it was their win over Cholla, 47-32, on Jan. 9 that earned the Lions a berth in the state playoffs.

If defense wins championships, then the season-long preaching of coach Lonnie Tvrdy has been well received.

“Defense is what coach pushes us to do,” said Moriah Roters, who led the Lions with 13 points, shooting 6-9 from the floor.

The Lions forced 10 turnovers in the first half, as they built a 27-13 halftime lead over the Chargers. More importantly, they held Cholla to 30 percent shooting in the first half, and a mere 28 percent for the game.

“We hang our hat on our defense,” Tvrdy said. “We have to play ball pressure.”

The Lions made their shots in the first half. They opened the second quarter with an 11-2 run and a three-pointer by Maas with seven seconds left, which helped them open a 27-13 halftime lead.

Their shooting percentage of 46 percent in the first half was more than adequate.

Winning the contest was not as easy as the final margin would make it appear.

“I didn’t think we played that well for most of the game,” Tvrdy said. “Give Cholla credit. They’re unorthodox and are hard to defend. They have many girls who can handle the ball well.”

Post player Marcianna Granillo stepped up and made a couple of shots, as Cholla opened the third with a 6-0 run to cut the Lions lead to 27-19.

Meanwhile, the Lions missed their first seven shots.

With 2:53 left, Roters made a layup, was fouled, and sank a free throw to extend it back to a 33-20 lead.

“We got tired in the second half,” Tvrdy said. “Three or four girls were battling colds.”

Roters expressed the team chemistry that enabled the Lions to nearly win the regional tournament.

“We’re really unified like sisters,” Roters said. “Everyone knows what they’re doing.”

Courtney had nine points, and Soltero added seven for the Lions.

Shantiel Lopez of Cholla led all scorers with 16 points, while Granillo scored 11.

When the Lions moved up the equivalent of two classifications, it would’ve been easy to feel intimidated, or as if they didn’t belong in Division II.

When the season began, how did Roters feel about it?

“I was nervous at first,” Roters said. “Then we got used to it after a few games.”

The Lions have been shorter than many of their Division-II opponents.

Roters doesn’t think the Lions are bothered by their lack of height, because she feels that you don’t need height to pull down rebounds.

The loss to Palo Verde ended the Lions 9-game winning streak.

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HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Rio Rico

Ironwood Ridge at Glendale Ironwood

Swimming (@4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge, Sahuarita at Desert Christian

Wednesday, September 17

Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Rincon at CDO

Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

Palo Verde, Nogales at Marana

Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

CDO at Queen Creek

Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove at Pusch Ridge

Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills

Friday, September 19

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

Desert Vista at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Cienega at CDO

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

Saturday, September 20

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

Mountain View at San Diego

Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)

Swimming

Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

 

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