TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - #24 Santa Rita used their fast breaking style Wednesday night to beat 23rd ranked Empire 89-82 and draw a little closer in the Conference 3A South Region race.
The Eagles (11-6, 4-4) jumped out to a 22-12 lead at the end of first quarter and used transition baskets by Jeremiah Jeffero and Mauricio Perez to hold a nine-point advantage at the half.
Santa Rita guard Anthony Gonzalez got hot from behind the three-point arc to help the Eagles stretch their lead to as many as 15 in the third quarter.
Empire (17-10, 6-3) was led by junior guard Jack Plouck who scored 35 points thanks seven three-pointers. He also dished out seven assists. Plouck's performance moved him to 3rd in all time scoring at Empire, passing Cole Plouck (913).
Gabe Elias scored 14 and Adam Gomez had a double-double with 13 points and ten rebounds.
The loss dropped the Ravens to a game and half behind Sabino (10-11, 7-1) for first place in the Region. The Sabercats have four regular season games remaining while Empire has three.
Down in Vail, the Ravens' girls team kept Santa Rita winless on the season with a 64-38 victory. Empire (13-9, 7-2) is second place in the 3A South Region behind undefeated Pusch Ridge (20-1, 8-0).
The Eagles (0-16, 0-8) are dealing this season with the death of their coach Mike Argraves who passed away right before Christmas.