Mingus Union boys basketball’s season came to an end on Tuesday in a feisty game at Flagstaff in the semifinals of the Grand Canyon Region tournament.
The Marauders (14-18) jumped out to an 11-2 lead against No. 9 Flagstaff, but the Eagles finished the first quarter on a 14-5 run and Mingus Union lost its composure, losing 74-49.
Things got so heated that even Mingus supporters were thrown out.
“Fans are fans, I don’t know what to say to that, you can’t control that,” said Mingus Union head coach Dave Beery. “I don’t think that the officiating was unfair. I don’t think there was anything that warranted any kind of behavior like that.”
Beery said there was a questionable technical foul but it was technically warranted.
“We did get assessed one technical foul, it’s a kid who probably didn’t have a technical foul in his life,” Beery said. “I think he was frustrated more with his play, he just kinda slammed the ball down, I don’t think it was directed at the official but the official took it that way and he can’t slam the ball down, these guys are old enough, they know better.”
Flagstaff (15-3) did not lose a regular season Grand Canyon game and will host Lee Williams in the tournament championship on Friday.
On January 31, Mingus Union lost just 71-67 at Flagstaff. The Eagles beat the Marauders 79-63 in Cottonwood on January 3.
In the region tournament, Mingus Union got in foul trouble and had a couple seniors foul out.
“Guys worried too much about the officiating and not enough about their play and were too worried about stuff that wasn’t what they could control on the basketball court and it was frustrating,” Beery said. “It’s unfortunate to see their careers end that way at the high school level, but it is what is, Flagstaff was the better team, they deserved to win, their defense was excellent.”
On Monday in the quarterfinals, Mingus Union beat Bradshaw Mountain 64-46.
“Kind of a pretty sharp contrast, the Monday and Tuesday game,” Beery said with a laugh. “I’d say it’s kind of like an epitome for the whole season, consistency was probably our biggest issue. We got off to a great start both games, we went up 11-2 against Flagstaff early and 18-2 on Bradshaw Mountain. With Bradshaw we were able to maintain that and kinda pull away Flagstaff we had a few things that didn’t go our way, a couple of kinda tough bounces, a couple calls and we kinda seemed to lose our composure.”
Mingus beat Bradshaw Mountain 68-49 at home on January 24 and forfeited the game in Prescott Valley.
After starting the season 8-13, Mingus Union won three in a row and four of five in one stretch in January. The Marauders lost three of four to finish the season, but those were all road games.
“We improved, we improved as a team, that’s always our goal,” Beery said about the season. “Obviously the kids wanted to make it to state, I wanted to make it to state, it’s disappointing we didn’t do that but we had guys that couldn’t play for lots of reasons in the first half of the season and we were missing guys at the end just because of their decision making off the court and that kind of stuff really hurts your team and hurts your program.”
Beery said the Marauders can be successful next season if the returning players put in the work.
“I think we have a lot of young guys that have some talent, we need to have a good off season, we got guys that need to get a lot of work done in the offseason to give us a chance to be competitive in the next couple of years,” Beery said. “I think we have some guys that can do that and I think we have some varsity scoring coming back in Michael Bryan, who was a junior and Chaz Taylor, who was a sophomore, so I think that gives us a good starting point and we can build around that.”