The Mogollon girls basketball team defeated visiting Kearny Ray in a conference play-in game on Friday, Feb. 14 to secure a state-playoff berth at this weekend’s AIA Division 1A state tournament in the Prescott area.
The Mustangs, the No. 5 seed in the state playoffs, faced No. 4 Sells Baboquivari in the first round of the state playoffs on Thursday, Feb. 20, and lost 74-69 in overtime. Baboquivari moves on to face the winner of No. 1 St. David and No. 8 Grand Canyon in the semifinals on Friday.
The state title game will on Saturday, Feb. 22 at a time and site still to be determined.
Mogollon senior Jilliana Maner led all scorers with 25 points in the Mustangs’ win against Ray.
Hannah Ballesteros, another senior, chipped in 14 points as the Mustangs had little trouble with the Bearcats.
Maner and Ballesteros also scored in double figures, with 18 and 14 points, respectively, in a 55-44 win at Williams in the 1A Central sectional championship.
The Mustangs defeated Mayer 55-51 in the sectional semifinals.
Mogollon cappped the regular season with a 66-30 win at home against Mayer on Jn. 29. It marked the fourth straight year the Mustangs have gone undefeated in section play.
But it wasn’t easy. Maner, the team’s 5-11 post player, got injured early in January and missed eight games. Mogollon won 59-54 in overtime at Grand Canyon on Jan. 25 — one of the games Maner missed — but none of the Mustangs other regular-season games in January were close.
“Our other two seniors, Hannah Ballesteros and Tyra Parry, stepped it up during those eight games,” said Mogollon head coach JIm Maner. “But Jilliana is back now.”
Mogollon enters state-tournament play on a 12-game win streak. The last time the Mustangs lost was on Jan. 4 at the Chandler Prep tournament.
“I like having the tournament in one weekend,” said the coach. “It makes it a little tricky on scouting the other teams. We got the benefit of having a (playoff) game at our place.”
The AIA is waiting on the completion of Wednesday’s Division 2A boys conference play-in games to determined the schedule for Friday’s semifinals and Saturday’s championship games.
Division 2A boys and girls begin state-tournament play in the Prescott area on Friday and Saturday.