This has been the biggest week for the girls basketball program at Phoenix South Mountain since 2008, when the Lady Jaguars won the old Class 5A Division II state championship.
South knocked Chandler Seton Catholic from the top perch in Division II power points with a three-point victory on Monday night (Feb. 3), rolled past Phoenix Moon Valley on Tuesday night (Feb. 4) and took over the top spot, then outlasted No. 4 visiting Scottsdale Saguaro 54-49 on Thursday night (Feb. 6).
South (24-2) has completed its regular season and will go into next week’s sectional tournament as the top team in power points.
“We’ve been talking about this last week for awhile now, and we knew it would be a tough week,’’ said South coach John Cano. “I told the players, “This could catapult you into a future that you couldn’t even imagine.’ ’’
Of being No. 1 in power points, he told his players, “Now that you are the top dog, teams are going to be bringing their best every night.’ That’s what Saguaro did tonight. Their coaches and team did a fantastic job with the matchups.’’
South took control of the game with a 14-1 run in the second quarter, then experienced nearly the reverse in the third quarter when Saguaro (21-6) went on a 20-9 run to pull even at 36. Only a 3-pointer just before the buzzer by Jazmon Jacobs kept South from trailing going into the final eight minutes.
Jacobs scored eight points in the first 2:08 of the fourth, including a pair of 3-pointers that had so high of an arc that one might have thought they would have brought rain.
Saguaro star Casey Rarrick did not score in the first half but came alive in the second. She scored all of her team’s 13 points in the fourth quarter, including three 3-pointers, and finished with 20 points. Guard Jelani Huma had 17 points, including three 3-pointers.
Jacobs scored 20 points to lead the Jaguars, and Najiyyah Pack scored 17.
“We have two girls averaging close to 15 and another three close to 10,’’ Cano said. “If one of them is cold, the others can step in and pick up the slack.’’
Another reason for South’s success is discipline at both ends of the floor, Cano said.
“We have girls who are smart enough to know what they need to do,’’ he said.