AllSportsTucson.com’s crew of Brittany Bowyer, my brother Andy Morales and I had a fun time interviewing coaches, parents and players of the Salpointe Catholic state-champion girls basketball program at Frog & Firkin on Sunday.
Salpointe’s ascent to the school’s first state title in girls basketball in the second year of coach Joseph Luevano’s tenure was remarkable but not a surprise at all.
The Lancers lost last year in the state championship game against perennial power Seton Catholic and had some of its top players returning this year along with one of the best freshman classes Southern Arizona has produced, perhaps the best.
The senior class of Kylee Callahan, Tessa Hastings, Annika Arvayo, Janaya Morgan, Maya Ballesteros and Jillian Soulvie was a perfect complement in terms of their leadership with freshmen Taliyah Henderson, Hannah Williams, Jordan Watts, Allison Even and Jolee Nelson. Mixed in between was steady and heady junior point guard Bria Medina, a varsity player since her freshman season, and fellow junior guard Mia Cazares.
Their experience together dating to last June, when the Lancers started playing together in summer ball, evolved into high-level winning basketball. The Lancers (24-4) concluded the season with 14 straight wins, including their postseason run that included a rematch with Seton Catholic in the semifinals.
Salpointe capped the season overwhelming Flagstaff 65-48 in the 4A state title game Feb. 28 in Phoenix at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum.