Southern Arizona has rarely, if ever, had a time like this in the history of high school girls and women’s college basketball.
Adia Barnes‘ Arizona team is setting a lot of historical firsts and establishing attendance records at McKale Center behind the play of All-American guard Aari McDonald. The Wildcats’ growing popularity should boost the interest of young girls to play basketball and remain consistently competitive.
Todd Holthaus‘ perennially strong program at Pima, which commonly features an abundance of local talent, has qualified for six national tournaments including the last two years. Pima has five of the best players from Southern Arizona in this year’s recruiting class: Angel Addleman of Palo Verde, Luisa Chavez of Rio Rico, Mariah Clark, of Pueblo, and Jaslyn Booker and Lydia Griffith of Buena. One of Holthaus’ leaders this season was former Marana standout Alyssa Perez, who earned the ACCAC Region MVP honor by leading the Aztecs to the regional title.
Sabino’s state championship team has three Division I players on its roster — Kamryn Doty, Missouri-bound Kiya Dorroh and Kam’Ren Rhodes (daughter of Sabercats coach Jaamal Rhodes, one of the best coaches in the state). Sahuaro, led by the top winner in the history of girls basketball in Tucson, Steve Botkin, has potential 3,000-point career scorer Alyssa Brown, who has almost 15 offers from Division I programs.
Also, keep an eye on Class of 2022 standouts Emma Wall of Tanque Verde and Mat’tanaya Vital of Amphi. Vital is being trained by former Arizona basketball and football player Kelvin Eafon.
Wall and Vital are among many younger players who are thriving in Tucson because of their year-round devotion to basketball through their high schools and club teams — a growing phenomenon of the sport in Southern Arizona that was not the case even a decade ago.
Here is the video of our All Sports Tucson Talk discussion of the topic:
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.