Diane Swan, the coach of the Marana High Tigers, felt relief after escaping with a 40-37 win over Sabino.
It wasn’t the narrow playoff win but an incident earlier in the day that brought coach Swan close to tears. Her daughter Jamee had been in a truck accident with a friend.
“We had a rough day,” said the coach and mom. “If they didn’t have seat belts on, it would’ve been different.”
Despite a rough start to her day, Jamee Swan was well enough to score 28 points and pull down 13 boards. Her friend required stitches.
Trailing by two, the Tigers missed a shot, but Swan rose for the offensive board, while hanging in the air outside the paint, put it back in and drew the foul. Her ensuing free throw gave the home team Tigers a 38-37 lead.
It looked like the visiting Sabercats might be closing in on the win when Carly Cathey nailed a pair of treys for a 33-33 tie with 4:18 left in regulation.
Even after a monstrous block by Swan that electrified the crowd, Lizzy Miller made a couple of free throws for a 35-33 Sabino lead.
Then, the Tigers came up with a huge field goal by Alyssa Ruiz to tie it at the 1:14 mark.
“Ruiz shot really helped us win the game,” said Jamee.
Coach Swan has seen the progression of the teamwork around her daughter.
“Everyone’s getting to where they need to be,” said coach Swan. “It’s a team.”
The first quarter was marred by poor ball-handling on both sides, as the Tigers took an 8-6 lead. Swan had all eight of the points.
In the second quarter, Amber Mendoza’s field goal at the 1:12 mark gave the Tigers a 17-14 lead. Then Caitlin Foust broke free for a layup with 13 seconds to go, giving the Tigers a 19-15 lead at the half.
“God’s on our side,” said Jamee. “I think we’re very ready.”
Swan was 12-19 from the floor. She also blocked three shots.
For the Sabercats, Anna Heaton led with 11 points while Cathey had nine.
Coach Swan was elated with the win. Last year, the Tigers lost by one point at Sahuaro in the first round, despite a 20-20 game from Swan.
“I’m proud of all of them,” the coach said. “My bench was in it the whole game.”
On Friday, the season ended for the Tigers as they lost 68-33 to powerful Apollo. Swan scored 17 points.
In other Northwest girls basketball action, Pusch Ridge defeated Greyhills 40-35, before losing to Scottsdale Christian, 47-41. Catalina Foothills defeated Campo Verde, 56-29. Erin Peterson scored 15 points, while Shakayla McEaddy had 14. In the second round, they fell to Prescott 54-49, despite 19 points from McEaddy.
In boys action, CDO fell to Sunnyslope, 76-67. Despite Daniel Giffin scoring 20 points and having seven rebounds, his team, Catalina Foothills, fell to McClintock, 59-57.
Pusch Ridge lost to Arizona Lutheran, 58-47.