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Aztecs finish runner-up in championship game

Photo by Maria Martin

Photo by Maria Martin

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The Aztecs traveled to Grand Canyon Arena to take on the Basha Bears in the state title game, but fell short, losing 75-65.

“That’s the best defensive team we’ve seen all year, and we knew that coming in,” Head Coach Neil MacDonald said. “We didn’t just miss shots, they forced it. The kids played their butts off and did everything they could to win it.”

The Aztecs led for a majority of the first half but then an 11-0 run by Basha senior Terrell Brown saw the Bears go up 37-28 with 1:15 left in the second quarter. The Aztecs were down nine at halftime, 39-30.

“Those three threes (by Brown) hurt us,” MacDonald said. “Give him credit. He knocked down three tough shots. We had to get out of that hole.”

Senior Alex Barcello led the scoring for both teams at halftime with 18 points. The next leading scorer for the Aztecs was Saben Lee with five.

“They are a good team,” Barcello said. “We fought until the end.”

Every time the Aztecs showed some life, Basha responded to close the door.

The Aztecs came as close to two points away from Basha early in a low scoring third quarter, but were never able to take the lead or tie the game. Basha outscored the Aztecs 40-22 in the paint. Basha shot a remarkable 59 percent from the field while the Aztecs were only 38 percent from the field.

The Aztecs finished the season 26-4 and the state runner-up.

“I have not had a chance to think about it all yet,” MacDonald said. “I am extremely proud of this team and will miss all of these guys very much.”

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Aztecs finish runner-up in championship game