BASKETBALL NOTEBOOK: Region play decides playoff position

Some had the Salpointe boys and the Tanque Verde girls on the outside looking in based on the first half of the season but region play decides playoffs. (Andy Morales/

The conference play-in tournaments are a little more than a week away but a lot has already been decided, mainly the region championships. Some of the big region races are still up for grabs, however, so let’s take a look at how the final week of the regular season looks.

All rankings based on Thursday, Feb. 1 and record are region records.


On the boy’s side, No. 20 Tucson is 4-0 in the Southern Region and the Badgers will travel to No. 31 Cibola (4-0) next Tuesday, Feb. 6 for the region championship. The region champion gets the automatic playoff berth but No. 13 Sunnyside (1-2) looks to be a safe bet for the play-in tournament.

The 10th-ranked Tucson (4-0) girls will host No. 15 Cibola (4-0) on Tuesday for the region title. No. 22 Rincon/University (1-2) is living on the edge with two games left.


The 5A Southern Region for the boys is still undecided. No. 3 Buena (5-1), No. 17 Mountain View (4-2), No. 8 Sahuaro (4-3) and No. 6 Cienega (4-3) are all tightly intertwined. Sahuaro travels to Buena on Friday night and Mountain View hosts Cienega. All four teams should make the play-in tournament at the very least.

No. 3 Sahuaro (7-0) has already claimed the 5A Southern Region on the girl’s side but No. 11 Cienega (4-3) and No. 12 Ironwood Ridge (4-4) have little to fear. No. 24 Buena (1-6) and No. 26 Mountain View (2-5) should already be in playoff mode. Mountain View needs to beat Cienega Friday night to possibly move into the top 24.


No. 5 Cholla (6-1) has the region title in the bag for the boys and No. 21 Marana (3-4) needs to beat No. 33 Desert View (1-6) on Friday to stay in playoff contention.

The No. 10 Marana (7-0) girls have the automatic berth and No. 18 Flowing Wells is safe for the play-in tournament but No. 27 Cholla (4-3) might be able to move into the tournament with a win over Flowing Wells on Friday night.


No. 6 Palo Verde (7-0) has the region trophy in hand for the boys but No. 21 Rio Rico (5-1) and No. 25 Amphitheater (3-5) are on the edge.

No. 2 Pueblo (7-0) has a golden ticket and No. 10 Rio Rico (5-2) is safe on the girl’s side.


No. 2 Catalina Foothills boys (7-1) have the region title in hand but a loss to No. 22 Salpointe (4-2) Thursday night will make for a more difficult first-round game in the playoffs. No. 9 Nogales (4-2) is hoping to finish in the top eight and miss the play-in tournament. No. 11 Walden Grove (2-7) is also in. The Lancers still have three difficult games ahead.

No. 15 Canyon del Oro (6-1) can claim a piece of the region title for the girls on Friday night at No. 28 Catalina Foothills (1-6) but No. 11 Salpointe (5-1) can get the other piece if the team wins out. The Lancers have a better overall record. No. 22 Nogales (2-4) and No. 26 Walden Grove (2-4) need to make a move.


The No. 8 Sabino (10-1) and No. 11 Empire (10-1) boys are in since the top three teams in 3A regions earn automatic bids. No. 23 Catalina (5-4) is not eligible for postseason play so No. 21 Sahuarita (4-5) appears to be in. No. 25 Tanque Verde (2-7) is still fighting for a spot.

No. 10 Sabino (9-2), No. 8 Empire (8-3) No. 9 Pusch Ridge (7-3) and No. 12 Tanque Verde (7-3) are in on the girl’s side but are battling for seed position.


No. 19 St. Augustine (6-3) and No. 36 Desert Christian (5-4) are playing each other for an automatic berth on Friday night. It’s all or nothing for the Eagles.

No. 29 Desert Christian (7-2) has an automatic berth on the girl’s side. No. 15 Benson is in from the 2A East Region and No. 20 Santa Cruz (7-4) is on the edge from the 2A Metro South Region.


No. 1 The Gregory School (9-0) boys are in. No. 9 Patagonia (6-2) and No. 13 Baboquivari (7-2) look safe. No. 17 St. David (5-2) has to keep winning.

Baboquivari (8-0) won the girl’s title. Both No. 7 St. David and No. 8 Immaculate Heart are in. The Knights came close to capturing another region title but can still make some major noise in the state playoffs. Immaculate Heart has a state championship in baseball and football and is looking to add a basketball trophy. No. 14 Bowie/San Simon (5-4) is on the edge as is No. 16 The Gregory School (5-4).


Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017 and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. 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 Andy was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Contact Andy Morales at


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