The Aprende Jaguar Girls basketball completed their second straight undefeated championship season, beating the Akimel Rattlers 43-28 in the Kyrene League Championship game at Corona del Sol High School.
Defense was the key to the romp, holding the Rattlers to only 28 points.
Point guard Tori Mason and center Maya Peat lead the way in the final game by scoring 20 points and 14 points respectively. Mason shot the ball well and scored 5 baskets off of defensive steals. Peat shutdown the Rattlers inside by blocking 6 shots and accumulating 14 rebounds. Kyleigh McCabe also had her biggest game by scoring 6 points and more importantly provided tough rebounds and great defense when the Jaguars needed it. Mason, Peat and McCabe were the three players back from last year’s championship team and provided positive leadership for the rest of the Varsity team.
The lead in the championship game was going back and forth until Alexis Wolpert hit a key 10 foot jumper to give the Jaguars the lead for good with about 8 minutes left in the first half. After that point defense took over. Krysta Doshe played her best game of the year, not allowing any penetration by the quick Akimel team.
Doshe, Kayla McDonald (a 6th grader) and Lenora Brower also rebounded very well and passed the ball very well inside to Maya Peat.
Victoria Minjarez deserves some special recognition for using her quickness to keep the Akimel guards off balance.
Victoria was pressed into action since starter Anisa McClain could not play because of the flu. McClain, played particularly well in the semi-final game the previous night, despite the flu symptoms. The quick, scrappy defender enabled Aprende to use their defensive quickness to steal their way to a 39-24 win over the Kyrene Scorpions.
Kayla McDonald hit the first shot of the semi-final game and the Jaguars never looked back. Mason had 24 points and despite being plagued by foul trouble, Peat contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds. Lenora Brower filled in well for Peat, allowing the Jags to maintain a 15 point lead throughout the 2nd half of the semi-final game.
— Scott Grimditch