Baja Arizona Notes: Alexis Cortez, Ashleigh Houlton, Andre Jackson and Keith Francis

Alexis Cortez. (tundekilinphotography)

Former Tucson High basketball standout Alexis Cortez signed with Olimpia Brasov.

Alexis Cortez helped lead Astros de Jalisco to a National Professional Basketball League of Mexico Championship in July and the former Tucson High standout is now in Romania to play for Olimpia Brasov.

Former Ironwood Ridge volleyball coach Ashleigh Houlton named Wichita State assistant.

Ashleigh Houlton earned a spot on the Wichita State staff the program announced in July. Houlton previously served as the boy’s head coach and girl’s assistant coach at Ironwood Ridge.

“Ashleigh came very highly recommended to me by several people I trust within the industry,” head coach Chris Lamb said in a release. “She’s a detail-oriented person with a great attitude who is willing to put in the hours to make Shocker Volleyball better. Those are the kind of people we’re looking to add here.”

Lamb is a former University of Arizona volleyball assistant (1998-2000) and he is starting his 23rd year at Wichita State. Houlton’s official title will be “Director of Operations.”

Former Cienega standout Andre Jackson strikes out Albert Pujols.

Andre Jackson faced Albert Pujols two days after the future Hall of Famer hit career home run number 700 and the former Cienega standout struck him out on a 3-and-2 change up.

In a strange coincidence, both of Jackson’s career major league saves were three innings in length and secured the Dodgers’ 106th win of the season (2021 and 2022).

“That was pretty cool,” Jackson told J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles Daily News. “I wanted to challenge him, give him my best stuff. He’s got the 700 now so it’s time to get him out.”

Former Arizona assistant and CDO head coach Keith Francis coached Albert Pujols.

Former University of Arizona assistant and Canyon del Oro head baseball coach Keith Francis coached former MLB standouts Ian Kinsler and Brian Anderson in high school but he also did a stint at Maple Woods Community College where he coached Albert Pujols (1997-1998).


Named one of “Arizona’s Heart & Sol” by KOLD and Casino del Sol, Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017 and a 2019 AZ Education News recognition. He was 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 and his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is a 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. He earned a Distinguished Service Award from Amphitheater and he was recognized by the Sunnyside School District and by Tucson City Councilman Richard Fimbres. Contact Andy Morales at amoralesmytucson@yahoo.com

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