We’re down to two local teams left in the winter sports season, and both hail from Sedona.
The Red Rock High School boys and girls basketball squads begin their quests for state titles tonight at Mountain Pointe High in Phoenix.
The Scorpion boys open play in the 2A Big Dance against Desert Christian at 6 p.m. The Lady Scorpions follow against Miami at 7:45 p.m.
In a way, the two squads experienced a reversal of fortunes over the last week or so of the season.
The Red Rock boys had blitzed through the Canyon Region without much challenge until their point guard, senior Michael Scagnelli, sprained his ankle in the regular season finale. Sedona won its first Canyon tournament game without him (95-48 over Mogollon) but fell to Mayer 68-55 in the title bout
That loss dropped Sedona, which finished the regular season unbeaten, to a second seed for the 2A playoffs. Their first foe, Desert Christian, is the number one seed from the South Region and advanced to the state finals last season.
Red Rock (23-6) will play Saturday against either San Carlos, Scottsdale Christian or Hopi if they win tonight. That game will be at Highland High in Gilbert at 4 p.m. Saturday’s winner advances to next weekend’s Final Four at America West Arena.
Sedona is led by region player of the year Michael Sells, who averages better than 20 points per contest, and Ryan French and Kyle French. The key for the Scorpions, though, hinges on the possible return of Scagnelli, who was still hobbled last weekend. He’s questionable for the weekend games.
SEDONA GIRLS: Just last week, the Lady Scorpions were reeling a bit after back-to-back losses to Orme. The Warriors cruised 66-27 in the first meeting and prevailed 51-47 in the second (to determine Canyon tournament seeding).
But Sedona played what John Larkin called its best basketball of the season to capture the tournament title. Red Rock smashed Williams 70-40 and earned some revenge against Orme, 48-41, on the Warriors home floor.
The Canyon championship gives the Lady Scorpions a number one seed in the 2A playoffs. Miami finished second in the Central Region this season. Tonight’s winner will meet either Tohono O’odham, Pusch Ridge or Duncan in Saturday’s quarterfinals at McClintock High at 2 p.m.
Easton Gardner, Sedona’s senior point guard and region player of the year, drives the Lady Scorpions. Sarah Busche and Monica Vail are also offensive threats, and Holly Pickard has been playing well of late.