GIRLS: Sahuaro keeps Badgers' demon alive - Tucson News Now

GIRLS: Sahuaro keeps Badgers' demon alive

Tucson falls for a 2nd straight season at home in the second round of the state tournament. Tucson falls for a 2nd straight season at home in the second round of the state tournament.
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

There is indeed a demon in the gymnasium at Tucson High School.

13th-seeded Sahuaro used a strong game from guards Reazsha Benjamin and Elena Arriaga to beat host Tucson High 65-60 Friday night and advance to the Division II Girls state quarterfinals.

Benjamin finished with 20 points to lead the Cougars (23-5) who will face #5 Mesa on Tuesday in a 2:30 p.m. tipoff at Gila River Arena.

The Badgers (25-4) for the second straight season lose in the 2nd round in a home game in which they were a significantly higher seed.

Tucson as a #5 seed was upset in 2015 by Maricopa. The Badgers had literally waited 365 days to exercise that demon.

It didn’t happen as Sahuaro all-time leading scorer Sydney Harden dominated in the first quarter to help the Cougars build a 19-13 lead.

Sahuaro maintained a five-point advantage at the break thanks to the sharp-shooting of Arriaga who knocked down three three-pointers in the first half.

The Badgers would rally in the third quarter to go ahead by two points. Alexis Cortez finished with a game-high 21 points.

But the Cougars put the clamps on THMS in the fourth as the Badgers did not score for the first five and half minutes while allowing Sahuaro transition baskets to build a 59-48 lead.

The Badgers went to a press and converted three straight turnovers to cut the deficit to 59-54, but Benjamin was money from the free throw line down the stretch to finish out the game for the Cougars.

The loss ended Cortez's stellar high school career. She finishes as the 5th all-time leading scorer in state history and will now continue her college career at East Carolina.

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