Basketball season ends on a low point

Junior+Christian+Tuckers+goes+up+for+a+layup+against+Queen+Creek.

Jacob Black

Junior Christian Tuckers goes up for a layup against Queen Creek.

The Pumas playoff run began on Feb. 14, when they defeated Queen Creek 69-54 to earn a spot in the round of 16.

Head coach Sam Duane established a clear game plan coming into the game: “Our game plan was we had to defend really well, take away their three-point looks, and then we wanted to establish inside.”

The No. 12 Pumas then traveled to Phoenix to take on No. 5 Brophy. The game came down to the final seconds, but the Pumas were able to secure the win, upsetting Brophy 43-42. 

The first-round victory set up a match-up at No. 4 Skyline in the quarterfinals. Heading into the game, Pumas gained a lead where junior center Duke Brennan and sophomore forward Dylan Anderson were able to score easy buckets inside and get to the line.

With 5:30 left to go in the fourth, the Pumas were up 38-26 and were just moments away from moving on to the semifinals, but Skyline kept fighting and went on a 15-3 run to tie the game with 25 seconds on the clock. The Pumas turned over the ball and gave Skyline a chance to win with 18 seconds left. Dayton Harris drained 10 seconds off the clock before driving into the lane and giving Skyline a 2-point lead to win the game. 

This game marked the end for various seniors that will not return next season including wing Evan Skeoch, guard Jalen Moreland, point guard Winston Brown, forward Nathan Wold, and guard Dustin Crenshaw. Despite losing important rotation players, the team has a strong cast of starters, which 4 out of 5 of them will be returning next season.

Duane said that the team has grown a lot throughout the season, “All of our guys have come along; I can’t really single one of them out, they have all made strides.”

The team performed well this season, but in order get the edge on their opponents, they have to put in the work this offseason

Anderson said he’s planning to improve game next season by “hit the weight room a lot”.

Junior guard Cristian Tucker simply stated, “I’m just going to work on my game and get better.”

When reflecting on memorable moments of the season, Anderson noted that “when we got revenge on Brophy and beat them by one” was one of his favorite moments.