The Rim Country Middle School Mavericks girls basketball team won both its games to win the seventh grade girls championship in the four-team Kenny Hartnett Memorial Basketball Tournament at Tonto Basin School on Saturday, Feb. 1.
Makyla Hill sank a jump shot with less than 30 seconds remaining, as the Mavericks, a team comprised of RCMS sixth- and seventh-graders, rallied to beat the Mogollon Mustangs 15-13 in the semifinals. Games featured six-minute quarters with a running clock.
RCMS rallied from a nine-point first-half deficit to beat the St. Anthony Eagles 25-20 in the title game.
The Eagles, who beat the Sequoia Panthers by 34 points in the semifinals with a fast-break offense that also featured strong three-point shooting, jumped out to a 15-6 lead on RCMS with one minute left in the first half. But an Elly Schreur layup and a buzzer-beating three-point basket by Megan Ryder pulled the Mavericks within 15-11 at intermission.
They switched their defense and shut down the Eagles in the second half, outscoring them 14-5 to win by five. Carli Carpenter’s two assists to Raegen Ashby helped seal the victory.
The girls practiced from 7 to 8 a.m. every Wednesday before school to get ready for the tournament and head coach Grant Coley said it was the dedication and unselfishness of the entire team that led to the championship.
Members of the team include Raegen Ashby, Carli Carpenter, Emily Daniels, Hannah Goldman, Sadie Hazelo, Emma Hill, Makyla Hill, Emma Nelson, Megan Ryden, Raene Sarnowski, Elly Schreur, Makiah Taylor, Lily Thornhill and Alex Whaley. Grant Coley is the head coach and Emma Nelson the assistant coach.
The RCMS boys team finished third among four teams by closing the consolation game against Heber Mogollon on a 10-0 run in the closing minutes. The boys are not on the regular school teams and practiced before school to prepare for the tournament.
The roster includes Alan Cerna, Kevin Cerna, Porter Flake, Deven Gladden, Stephen Gross, Hunter Krahn, Tanner Mansoor, Nick Piazza, Gage Ryden, Jordan Varner, Simon Whitehead and Salvador Zermeno.