Tucson High School Sports

Salpointe beats Sahuaro to finish regular season 15-1

No. 3 Salpointe exacted revenge on top-ranked Sahuaro after losing to the Cougars last week by winning 61-31 on Thursday night.

Sahuaro is now 15-1 with its last regular season game on Friday night against visiting Pueblo. The Cougars moved to No. 3 in the latest 4A rankings.

Alyssa Brown, who had a streak of eight consecutive games with at least 30 points, finished with 12 points before having to leave in the first half with a head injury. She played in the second half but was taken out with about 4 minutes left in the game.

She is expected to play tonight against Pueblo as is guard Lucky Franke, who has been out for almost two weeks with a fractured right pinky.

Salpointe ended its regular season at 15-1 and is now No. 2.

Seton Catholic (15-1) reclaimed the No. 1 spot after it dropped to No. 2 following a loss against 6A Hamilton earlier this week.

“Our team defense was excellent,” Salpointe coach Joseph Luevano said. “Our discipline on defense our ball pressure and our rotations were very sharp.  Sahauro is an incredibly tough and physical team and we stayed disciplined throughout the game.”

When Sahuaro beat Salpointe 65-55 at home last week, the Lancers had trouble executing in the fourth quarter when they were outscored 25-8.

“We did a much better job of taking care of the ball and had good shot selection compared to our game a week ago,” Luevano said. “Our five starters did an incredible job all night and since it was Senior Night, we had three other seniors that played well as they rotated through.”

Salpointe junior Kylee Callahan led the Lancers with 26 points in the win over Sahuaro (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

The seniors on the roster playing in their last regular season game were Jaya Nelson, Mia Ronstadt, Mireya Hernandez, Madeline Namanny and Ilena Gonzales.

“Madi Namanny, (junior) Tessa Hastings, and (sophomore) Bria Medina did an amazing job on defense and helping as well as moving the ball on offense,” Luevano said.

Junior guard Kylee Callahan led Salpointe with 26 points, five steals and seven rebounds. Nelson who had 21 points while taking on the task of defending Brown early.

Brown entered the game with eight consecutive outings with at least 30 points. She was No. 6 in the nation averaging 33.0 points per game.

“I’m just incredibly proud of my team,” Luevano said. “We have played a very tough schedule playing against at least 12 playoff teams and four of those against top five teams in 4A and 5A. Almost all of these games have been in the past three weeks which has been very tough, especially since nearly all of those games were on the road.”

Salpointe persevered after losing key players Brianna Arizmendi, Kimmy McDaniels and Achol Magot to injuries.

“This group continues to find ways to win together,” Luevano said. “Our team motto is ‘We run together’ and we seem to be running together at the right time.  

“I hope we can continue to run together in the playoffs as games become even more challenging and meaningful.”

Brown’s 12 points increases her career total to 2,568 points. She is now 43 points shy of matching former Red Mountain star Kayla Pederson at No. 2 in the state’s career scoring list. Pederson had 2,611 points from 2003-07.

Former Catalina Foothills and Arizona standout Julie Brase, Lute Olson’s granddaughter, holds the state record with 2,913 points from 1994-98.

Arizona Girls Basketball Career Scoring Leaders

1Julie BraseCatalina Foothills1994-19982,913
2Alyssa BrownSahuaro2017-20212,680
3Kayla PedersenRed Mountain2003-20072,611
4Christina WirthSeton Catholic2001-20052,550
5Kayla MackenzieKellis2006-20102,515
6Ashley WirtzbergerYuma Catholic/Gila Bend2006-20102,505
7Alexis CortezTucson2012-20162,479
8Nicole PowellMountain Pointe1996-20002,478
9Shaylee GonzalesMesquite2014-20182,385
10Olivia SnyderGreen Fields2009-20132,382

Southern Arizona Girls Basketball Scoring Leaders

1Julie BraseCatalina Foothills1994-19982,913
2Alyssa BrownSahuaro2017-Present2,592
3Alexis CortezTucson2012-20162,479
4Olivia SnyderGreen Fields2009-20132,382
5Sydni StallworthPalo Verde2011-20152,182
6Shawn CoderWillcox1986-19902,162
7Paula PyersSanta Rita1980-19842,082
8Taneisha GossettFlowing Wells1990-19942,043


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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