Pusch Ridge over Palo Verde; The MLK Classic adds a youth exhibition game

Hayden Hallett goes up for a shot. (Andy Morales/AZPreps365)


Palo Verde battled back from a 15-point deficit to pull within three points with 5:05 left at Pusch Ridge but the Lions held on for a 58-51 win to keep control of the 3A South Region. At 7-2 in power-ranking games, Pusch Ridge is the highest ranked team from Southern Arizona at No. 16 entering Monday night.

Palo Verde fell to 5-2 on the year with a No. 31 ranking but the top two teams in each of the seven regions in 3A competition will earn an automatic berth to the state playoffs regardless of ranking in the 24-team state bracket. The 3A level is the only conference to skip the play-in phase this winter so the top eight ranked teams will enter the state playoffs with a first-round bye to set up a more common 16-team second round. A team ranked outside of the top 24 will bump others out of the top 24 if that team finishes in the top of two of a region per conference rules…



The schedule for the 18th Annual MLK Basketball Classic is set for Monday, Jan. 17 with eight games taking place at the McKale Center on the University of Arizona campus. An exhibition game between Ochoa Elementary and Booth/Fickett K-8 will start things off at 9 a.m.

The Tucson version of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Basketball Classic is the longest continually running event in Arizona with all teams taking a break in 2021 due to COVID state-wide restrictions. Games played at the MLK Classic are considered regular season games and they will count towards power points.

Monday, January 17 at McKale Memorial Center

Exhibition Game: Ochoa vs. Booth/Fickett, 9 a.m.
Boys Desert Christian vs. Baboquivari, 10 a.m.
Girls Sabino vs. Pusch Ridge, 11:30 a.m.
Boys Tanque Verde vs. Safford, 1 p.m.
Girls Flowing Wells vs. Pueblo, 2:30 p.m.
Boys Palo Verde vs. Sahuaro, 4 p.m.
Girls Tucson vs. Catalina Foothills, 5:30 p.m.
Boys Salpointe vs. Nogales, 7 p.m.

(Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson)


Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017, a 2019 AZ Education News award winner and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling. 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 is the Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019, became a member of the Sunnyside Los Mezquites Cross Country Hall of Fame in 2021 and he was a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee and he earned a Distinguished Service Award from Amphitheater. Contact Andy Morales at amoralesmytucson@yahoo.com

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