The conference play-in tournaments are a little more than a week away but a lot has already been decided, mainly the region championships. Some of the big region races are still up for grabs, however, so let’s take a look at how the final week of the regular season looks.
All rankings based on Thursday, Feb. 1 and record are region records.
6A SOUTHERN REGION
On the boy’s side, No. 20 Tucson is 4-0 in the Southern Region and the Badgers will travel to No. 31 Cibola (4-0) next Tuesday, Feb. 6 for the region championship. The region champion gets the automatic playoff berth but No. 13 Sunnyside (1-2) looks to be a safe bet for the play-in tournament.
The 10th-ranked Tucson (4-0) girls will host No. 15 Cibola (4-0) on Tuesday for the region title. No. 22 Rincon/University (1-2) is living on the edge with two games left.
5A SOUTHERN REGION
The 5A Southern Region for the boys is still undecided. No. 3 Buena (5-1), No. 17 Mountain View (4-2), No. 8 Sahuaro (4-3) and No. 6 Cienega (4-3) are all tightly intertwined. Sahuaro travels to Buena on Friday night and Mountain View hosts Cienega. All four teams should make the play-in tournament at the very least.
No. 3 Sahuaro (7-0) has already claimed the 5A Southern Region on the girl’s side but No. 11 Cienega (4-3) and No. 12 Ironwood Ridge (4-4) have little to fear. No. 24 Buena (1-6) and No. 26 Mountain View (2-5) should already be in playoff mode. Mountain View needs to beat Cienega Friday night to possibly move into the top 24.
5A SONORAN REGION
No. 5 Cholla (6-1) has the region title in the bag for the boys and No. 21 Marana (3-4) needs to beat No. 33 Desert View (1-6) on Friday to stay in playoff contention.
The No. 10 Marana (7-0) girls have the automatic berth and No. 18 Flowing Wells is safe for the play-in tournament but No. 27 Cholla (4-3) might be able to move into the tournament with a win over Flowing Wells on Friday night.
4A GILA REGION
No. 6 Palo Verde (7-0) has the region trophy in hand for the boys but No. 21 Rio Rico (5-1) and No. 25 Amphitheater (3-5) are on the edge.
No. 2 Pueblo (7-0) has a golden ticket and No. 10 Rio Rico (5-2) is safe on the girl’s side.
4A KINO REGION
No. 2 Catalina Foothills boys (7-1) have the region title in hand but a loss to No. 22 Salpointe (4-2) Thursday night will make for a more difficult first-round game in the playoffs. No. 9 Nogales (4-2) is hoping to finish in the top eight and miss the play-in tournament. No. 11 Walden Grove (2-7) is also in. The Lancers still have three difficult games ahead.
No. 15 Canyon del Oro (6-1) can claim a piece of the region title for the girls on Friday night at No. 28 Catalina Foothills (1-6) but No. 11 Salpointe (5-1) can get the other piece if the team wins out. The Lancers have a better overall record. No. 22 Nogales (2-4) and No. 26 Walden Grove (2-4) need to make a move.
3A SOUTH REGION
The No. 8 Sabino (10-1) and No. 11 Empire (10-1) boys are in since the top three teams in 3A regions earn automatic bids. No. 23 Catalina (5-4) is not eligible for postseason play so No. 21 Sahuarita (4-5) appears to be in. No. 25 Tanque Verde (2-7) is still fighting for a spot.
No. 10 Sabino (9-2), No. 8 Empire (8-3) No. 9 Pusch Ridge (7-3) and No. 12 Tanque Verde (7-3) are in on the girl’s side but are battling for seed position.
2A SOUTH REGION
No. 19 St. Augustine (6-3) and No. 36 Desert Christian (5-4) are playing each other for an automatic berth on Friday night. It’s all or nothing for the Eagles.
No. 29 Desert Christian (7-2) has an automatic berth on the girl’s side. No. 15 Benson is in from the 2A East Region and No. 20 Santa Cruz (7-4) is on the edge from the 2A Metro South Region.
1A SOUTH REGION
No. 1 The Gregory School (9-0) boys are in. No. 9 Patagonia (6-2) and No. 13 Baboquivari (7-2) look safe. No. 17 St. David (5-2) has to keep winning.
Baboquivari (8-0) won the girl’s title. Both No. 7 St. David and No. 8 Immaculate Heart are in. The Knights came close to capturing another region title but can still make some major noise in the state playoffs. Immaculate Heart has a state championship in baseball and football and is looking to add a basketball trophy. No. 14 Bowie/San Simon (5-4) is on the edge as is No. 16 The Gregory School (5-4).
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017 and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com