The Flagstaff girls basketball team saw its Division II state tournament run come to an end Wednesday in Glendale, dropping its quarterfinal match 58-47 to the rolling Maricopa Rams at the Gila River Arena.
The 12th-seeded Rams managed another upset of a top-five team in the No. 4 Eagles after edging No. 5 Tucson on Friday. High-scoring Maricopa beat No. 21 Douglas in the first round, 70-37. The Rams used a 21-point first quarter to put the Eagles in too deep a hole to overcome.
From the second quarter, the Eagles managed to keep the pace with the Rams but could not muster the rally, losing the second quarter 9-7, dropping the third 18-14 before winning the fourth 16-10.
Sophomore Noni Thomas recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Eagles.
"Noni is solid," Eagles head coach Tyrone Johnson said, hoping she returns to be a "truly dominant player next year."
Shay Toehe led the Eagles in scoring with 12 points. Kira Butler's eight points came at the free-throw line on an 8-of-11 performance.
The Eagles, the D-II, Section One champs, earned a bye into the second round of the tournament, where they easily handled the No. 13 Casa Grande Cougars.
Flagstaff ended the regular season at 6-0 in section action, 16-1 in division play and 17-2 overall, highlighted by a 13-game winning streak that lasted Dec. 8 through Jan. 29.
Johnson said his team struggled to shoot the ball and wondered if it was due to the ambiance of tournament and the larger venue. But Maricopa outplayed Flagstaff in all categories. The Rams went 8 for 20 from 3-point range compared to Flagstaff's 1-of-14 shooting from behind the arc. Maricopa also outrebounded Flagstaff 50-28.
"We just kinda froze in the sense of executing, offensively and defensively," Johnson said.
No. 9 Ironwood Ridge upset top-seeded Cienega in overtime and will meet Maricopa in the semifinals.
Overall, Johnson liked what he saw from his young team in the tournament and all season long.
"In the beginning, people wouldn't have given us another thought. It is a testament to how they came together," Johnson said. "I thoroughly enjoyed coaching this group and wish everyone the best."