Tucson High School Sports

Pusch Ridge off to strong start with mostly sophomores and juniors


Much like its young but talented football team that advanced to the 3A state semifinals last month, Pusch Ridge Christian Academy’s boys basketball team is also loaded with standouts who are sophomores and juniors.

That was exemplified in Saturday’s 64-53 win over visiting Show Low, which is coached by former Flowing Wells multi-sport athlete and Arizona basketball player Troy Cooke.

Pusch Ridge is off to a 2-0 start thanks to a strong defensive effort (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Pusch Ridge’s ultra-quick and tenacious sophomore guard Ryan Robinson scored 12 of his team-high 14 points in the first half to set the tone for the Lions.

Junior forward Alex Manning contributed 13 points, including eight in the fourth quarter that helped stave off Show Low after Robinson went to the bench with four fouls with 6:26 left in the fourth quarter.

“We’re young but they’re tenacious; they get after it,” Pusch Ridge coach Erik Michaud said. “They want to make a bucket and turn right around and get on defense. Defense and a team-oriented effort has gotten as the dubs (W’s) so far.”

The Lions are 2-0 after Saturday’s win. They beat Gilbert Christian 53-50 in the opener Tuesday. They next host Thatcher on Tuesday night at 7.

Pusch Ridge’s Ryan Robinson (3) led a balanced scoring attack with 14 points (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Pusch Ridge was ahead of Show Low 49-45 when Robinson took a seat with his fourth foul but managed to build its lead going inside to Manning. Jack Franco, a junior, also added a 3-pointer that contributed to the Lions outscoring Show Low 7-2 to take a 56-47 lead with 3:21 left.

The Cougars could not get closer than seven points thereafter.

Jordan Vorhees, a sophomore, also made all four of his free throw attempts in the fourth quarter and finished with nine points.

Franco and Tanner Rozon also each had nine points. Rozon and Graham Gotcher (who had three points) are the only Pusch Ridge seniors who played in the game.

Cooke’s son Cougar, a junior guard, led the Cougars with 30 points, including incredibly 20 of his team’s 21 points in the second quarter.

Show Low’s Cougar Cooke (left) is the son of former Arizona player Troy Cooke who is one of the top baseball prospects in the state (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

“He’s coming on really well; he’s actually a really good athlete. He’s one of the top shortstop prospects in the state,” Troy Cooke said about his son. “He bats left and right. Last year, he came on as a sophomore and made all-region.

“We have high hopes. We hope that he can possibly have a choice between playing baseball or basketball at the next level. He’s become a pure shooter, a very good athlete and competitor and has a high basketball IQ.”

Troy Cooke added that Arizona baseball coach Jay Johnson is actively recruiting Cougar, 6-foot-3 and 170 pounds.


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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.

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