The Pima College West Gym on Saturday afternoon featured 39 of the top girls and boys high school seniors in Southern Arizona, some of whom participated before their proms later in the day.
They put on a show on the court in front of a large crowd — one Pima staffer said more fans attended than many of their regular-season games — before going to the dance floor later at night.
The girls’ game was a physical, gritty game with plenty of defense — including full-court pressure — and the boys’ game was more loose and high-scoring.
Both games were intense with players driven to impress their parents, families, friends, coaches and young teammates in the stands.
This is the first of what will hopefully be a run of girls and boys all-star basketball games featuring players from Southern Arizona.
The theme is not necessarily for the players to get noticed by colleges — they are seniors who are late in the recruiting process (many of whom already have college plans) — but to give them one last opportunity to be honored by their community before they head to college and their adult lives.
Pima men’s coach Brian Peabody reached out to AllSportsTucson.com for assistance organizing the event. We plan to continue with this venture with help from local businesses to sponsor operational costs and payment of uniforms and referees, scorers officials, etc., to make this even more of a well-executed community event.
The player of the game for the girls’ contest was Pima-bound Tucson High center Gabriella Sanchez, who led the West team to victory with 14 points.
Sahuaro guard AJ Bonapart led the East with 20 points.
The boys’ player of the game was Sahuaro guard Isaiah Aguiar, who made all seven of his shots from 3-point range, missing only one attempt from that range, in the North’s victory. Aguiar is also headed to Pima with plans to study physical therapy.
Tucson High guard Jeremiah Luna led all scorers with 31 points for the South.
The coaches in the girls’ game were Adam Bernal and Zelenia Pellat of Bernal Fitness.
The boys’ coaches were Ben Hurley and Bill Baker.
The rosters —
G McKenna Mathie, Mica Mountain
F Nelly Ponds, Sahuaro — 3 points
G AJ Bonapart, Sahuaro — 20 points
G Ynnia Abella, Sahuaro
F Taliya Kelley, Palo Verde — 2 points
F Rebekah Olivas, Palo Verde
F Karolina Padilla, Douglas — 5 points
G Michelle Ngo, Rincon/University
F Jordyn Decker, Rincon/University — 3 points
C Rennet Morgan, Catalina
Tucson HS senior Gabriella Sanchez player of the game with 14 points to lead the West to 41-31 victory in the Southern Arizona Coaches Senior All-Star Game. Sanchez will play right here for @PimaWBB starting next year. pic.twitter.com/GHID4nn7zn
— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) April 22, 2023
C Sydney Capen, Flowing Wells — 7 points
G Milyana Salcido, Flowing Wells — 5 points
G Lexi Delgado, Sunnyside — 6 points
G/F Jessica Villarino, Nogales — 3 points
F Astrid Zubiate, Nogales
F Annalise Holthaus, Ironwood Ridge — 8 points
F Gabriella Sanchez, Tucson — 14 points
G Leza Stembridge, Tucson — 2 points
G Makayla Luna, Tucson
PG/SF Kevin Quintero, Amphi — 8 points
G Xavion Lasswell, Flowing Wells — 8 points
F Vince Edwards, The Gregory School — 12 points
F Bray Gant, Coolidge — 18 points
G Deandre Hawthorne, Buena — 11 points
SG Canyon Torres, Salpointe — 18 points
G Juan Munoz, Douglas — 2 points
G Abrien Drazkouski, Rincon/University — 11 points
C Cole Vernon, Rincon/University — 4 points
G Isaiah Aguiar, Sahuaro — 21 points
G Masai Dean Jr., Cholla — 11 points
F Antoine Green, Tucson — 2 points
C Chris Corral, The Gregory School — 2 points
G Khalil O’Bannon, Tucson — 10 points
F Jacob Flores, Mica Mountain — 8 points
F Baltazar Pacheco, Nogales — 8 points
G Andres Lopez, Rio Rico
G Jeremiah Luna, Tucson — 31 points
G Fabian Escobedo, Cholla — 5 points
G Christian Doyle, Rio Rico — 2 points
Isaiah Aguiar of Sahuaro is the player of the game for the North, which beat the South behind him finishing with 21 points on 7-of-8 shooting from 3-point range. Going to attend Pima to study physical therapy. pic.twitter.com/3d8620SxuN
— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) April 22, 2023
PALO VERDE’S REBEKAH OLIVAS
PALO VERDE’S TALIYA KELLY
FLOWING WELLS’ MILYANA SALCIDO & SYDNEY CAPEN
DOUGLAS’ KAROLINA PADILLA
TUCSON’S GABRIELLA SANCHEZ
NOGALES’ JESSICA VILLARINO & ASTRID ZUBIATE
IRONWOOD RIDGE’S ANNALISE HOLTHAUS
TUCSON’S LEZA STEMBRIDGE, MAKAYLA LUNA AND GABRIELLA SANCHEZ
SAHUARO’S YNNIA ABELLA, AJ BONAPART AND NELLY PONDS
MICA MOUNTAIN’S McKENNA MATHIE
RINCON/UNIVERSITY’S JORDYN DECKER & MICHELLE NGO
CATALINA’S RENNET MORGAN
CHOLLA’S MASAI DEAN JR.
DOUGLAS’ JUAN MUNOZ
BUENA’S DEANDRE HAWTHORNE
THE GREGORY SCHOOL’S VINCE EDWARDS
TUCSON HIGH’S KHALIL O’BANNON, JEREMIAH LUNA & ANTOINE GREEN
SALPOINTE’S CANYON TORRES
SECOND HALF OF BOYS GAME
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.