Tucson High School Sports

No. 3 Sahuaro advances in 4A state playoffs

Alyssa Brown against Thunderbird (Troy Hutchison/AllSportsTucson.com)

Tuesday marked the start of the 4A state playoffs and the beginning of Sahuaro’s quest for a championship with senior star forward Alyssa Brown leading the charge.

The Cougars are aiming for a title after losing in the 4A championship game by 30 points to Seton Catholic last year, finishing the season 28-2.

No. 3 Sahuaro hosted No. 15 Thunderbird for a chance at moving on to the quarterfinals of the playoffs and the Cougars prevailed 58-43.

After a quick 25-9 lead to start the game, the Cougars (16-1) went into a drought and allowed the Chiefs to get back into the game with a slim 29-20 lead. Then, like a bolt of lighting, coach Steve Botkin‘s team went on a 10-2 run and never looked back, running away with the win.

Brown was spectacular for the Cougars, scoring a team-high 31 points while racking up 11 rebounds and two assists. On defense, she led the 1-2-1-1 full-court zone press, getting her hands in the passing lane and collecting six steals. She used her length in the 1-3-1 zone defense, coming up with two blocked shots.

Going into the game, Brown needed 19 points to tie Kayla Pedersen of Red Mountain for the second-most points in Arizona girls basketball history. She moved past Pedersen with her 31 points, making her the second career scoring leader, needing 290 points to match Julie Brase of Catalina Foothills for the record.

Here’s a chart showing who Brown has passed on the career scoring list:

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

Here’s Brown talking about her team’s start to the game and discussing what it means to become the second career scoring leader in state history:

Here’s Botkin talking about Brown’s scoring achievement and discussing what his team needs to improve on before Friday’s quarterfinal matchup. Sahuaro will face the No. 6-seeded Flagstaff Eagles, who are 17-2. The game will be at 7 p.m.


ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writer Troy Hutchison hails from Tucson and is a lifelong Arizona Wildcats follower. He has been involved in sports journalism over the last two years while taking communications courses at Pima Community College.

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