Martin Luther King Classic

Martin Luther King Jr. Basketball Tournament

(Tucson, AZ)  The MLK Holiday Tournament started off with a pair of private schools, as Desert Christian High faced off against St. Augustine Catholic High.

The DCHS Eagles are led by Iran Alday and compete in the 2A South, as do the SACHS and there coached by Michael Reyna.

The Wolves lead the league with an 18-2 (7-1) record and the Eagles are in fourth with an 11-9 (5-3) respectively.

Early on,  it was back and forth as the score was tied 17-17 at the end of the first quarter.

The Wolves opened the game up in the second quarter with hot hot shooting from the beyond the arc and spreading the court in their offensive sets. St. Augustine had  the size advantage and used it down in the blocks to get high percentage shots.

The Wolves led at the half 33-26.

Both teams continued  to push the ball, and as in the first half,  they traded baskets. With the Eagles not having a player over 6’1”, most of their shots came from the perimeter and off of transition. Still, at the end of three quarters it’s was still  anyone’s game with the Wolves up 46-40.

The Eagles made  it a one point game at 46-45 in the first minute and  a half of the final period.

At the 4:08 mark, Dieu Merci-Mujambere stuck a dagger three from the left wing to get  Desert Christian back even at 49-49.

DCHS took the lead on the next possession with a free throw and Andrew Yarger made it a three point lead with a basket down low 52-49.

Off and inbounds pass from the sideline the Eagles went back-door and scored on an uncontested layup. They added two free throws to put the game away and won 60-52.


The second game of the day and the first girl’s game, was the Lady Trojans of Catalina High and the Lady Panthers of Amphi High.

Amphi started out hitting threes and  opened up an 11-1 lead and took a 15-1 lead after the first quarter.

Catalina had a small team so all their shots were from the outside. Midway through the second quarter the score grew to 24-3 in favor of the Panthers.

Both teams are at the bottom of their divisions, but TUSD was very gracious about inviting them to participate in today’s MLK Classic. A very classy decision by Herman House, Chairman of the  Tournament

At the half, Amphi in control 28-7.

In the third quarter, it was all Amphi as they extended their lead 43-11.

This was a good workout for both teams and a chance to represent their schools in this annual tournament.

The shots that the Trojans made  were of the spectacular type, but they ultimately fell to Amphi 45-17.


In the third game, the Bobcats from Vail’s Cienega High took on the Colts from Casteel from Queen Creek in Phoenix’s East Valley.

Both teams came out running and gunning, yet the score at the midway point was only 9-8 Colts from Casteel High.

Casteel implemented the full court press from the get-go and although it didn’t create any turnovers, Cienega’s diagonal passes led to easy lay ups.

In the first period track meet, the boys from Vail had a slim one point lead 16-15.

The start of the second quarter saw the Cats on a 9-5 run and opened it up 25-20 with just under six minutes till the half.

The rest of the quarter was mano a mano but Casteel had the last run of the half 17-6 to go up 37-31 at  halftime.

Out of the locker room, Cienega came back in a hurry with a 17-10 edge in the quarter and at the 2:57 mark, regained the lead 48-47.

A three pointer at the buzzer by Casteel tied it up at 52-52 and the end of the third quarter and headed into the final period.

At the 5;40 mark, both teams mixed it up a little when a double foul with a technical foul was assessed. Cienega shot free throws on the Colts personal foul. Subsequently, Casteel shot the technical foul on an elbow from the Bobcat Ryan Swoger to the head of the Colts player.

Swoger missed the front half of the one and one, while Deven Franks hit one of two free throws on the other end.

With 4:40 to go, the Colts had a eight point lead 64-56.

The Boys from Vail came back in a hurry and cut the Colt’s lead 68-65 with 1:26 left.

Casteel forced a late Bobcat turnover and scored again on the next possession to take the game and the track meet 75-68.


The day’s fourth game, the girls from I-19, the Rio Rico Hawks came to Tucson to face the Lady Titans of Palo Verde High.

Luisayde Chavez who has over 1,000 career points, runs the Hawks offense.

On the other side, Palo Verde is more balanced on their offense with no superstars.

Early in the game, the Titans were hitting their shots and Rio Rico wasn’t.

The Hawks caught up at the end of the first quarter and were only down 11-10.

April Martinez hit trey to start the second quarter and also put the Hawks in the lead 13-11.

Rio Rico went cold after their initial success in the quarter and the Titans took advantage of it by regaining the lead on a 9-2 run, 20-15.

Martinez kept the Hawks close with consecutive threes and with Chavez’s free throws Rio Rico tied the game back up 20-20.

In the first half,  it was a game of runs as the Hawks had the slight halftime edge 25-24.

The third quarter just past the 4:30 mark, Palo Verde went on a 5-0 run off two Hawk turnovers to retake the lead 35-33.

Late in the third quarter both reams pushed the actions up a notch with transition baskets, but the Titans were up 42-37 heading into the final stanza.

Palo Verde took control midway through the final period and went up by twelve 53-41 with 4:02 left in the contest.

Angel Addleman ran the Titan offense to a tee as played very consistently while having to guard Chavez much of the game from Rio Rico.

In  the end, the Lady Titans were just  too much for Rio  Rico as they won the battle of 4A foes 60-49.


The next game was the best matchup on the boy’s side with undefeated 4 A Salpointe Catholic Lancers and their 18-0 (3-0) record against the 6A Tucson High Badgers 11-7 (2-1).

The Lancers came out running and gunning and went out to a boil 14-4 lead before Tucson’s Christian Rodriguez hit a three to stop the run, 14-7 with under three minutes to go in the first quarter.

Salpointe finished off the quarter with an 11-3 run and a 22-10 lead.

Evan Nelson who’s bound for. Harvard University next year was the Lancer’s catalyst on offense showing why he’s a D-1 caliber player.

The Lancers took a 36-20 lead into the locker room at the half.

Tucson came  out in the third quarter and outscored the Lancers 16-9 but still trailed 45-36 going into the final quarter.

Tucson’s Yahir Garcia hit a big three to pull the Badgers within six 49-43.

Needing to reassert themselves, went on a 9-2 run to again take command 58-46 with 3:29 left in the game.

After that, Salpointe just ran their offensive sets using up what little clock was left and won 70-60.


The marquee matchup of the MLK Classic pitted the #1 Sahuaro  Cougars 18-0 (4-0)  and the #3 Sabino Sabercats 15-4 (2-0). The battle of  Tucson’s Eastside.

Between both teams, there are several D-1 caliber players. Alyssa Brown is the Cougars superstar and Kiya Dorrah is Sabino’s star player.

Sahuaro jumped out  to a quick  9-4 lead. The action was fast and furious but sloppy on both ends of the court.

Sabino came back to tie the score at 13-13 at the end of the first quarter.

Sabino surged ahead by nine in the latter part of the second quarter 27-18 with under two minutes to go till halftime.

Both teams expended a lot of energy playing very physical in the first half as you could reference the song “Let the bodies hit the floor” by Drowning Pool.

Sabercats led 31-21 at the half.

After a ten minute halftime break, both teams picked up where they left off.

Kamryn Doty got a nifty steal for a layup to put the Cats up by 36-23, Brown answered for Sahuaro but the Cougars needed  stops not trading baskets.

All game long, it was  Brown on Dorrah, Dorrah on Brown, both will play at big time schools after their high school careers are over.

Sabino maintained its halftime lead and a little more and led 41-29 at the end of three periods.

The Cougars needed to get a run to get back into the game, although they kicked it up a notch, Sabino matched their effort and won this battle 51-41.

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