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Braves basketball earns wins over Miami

David Sowders
Posted 1/9/24

David Sowders/Arizona Silver Belt

The Lady Vandals’ Savannah Pietila (3) looks to get around a San Carlos defender.

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Braves basketball earns wins over Miami


The Miami High School Gym was rocking last Tuesday night, packed with Vandals and San Carlos Braves fans who came to cheer on their varsity basketball teams. Both of the evening’s games were section matches – and one was for first place in Section 2A Valley. For the evening, Miami players switched their usual green and white uniforms for the original (1916-1922) school colors of purple and gold in tribute to those first teams. 

The opening game was between the Lady Vandals and Lady Braves, both 2-0 in 2A Valley entering the contest. Miami, 9-3 overall, had enjoyed a strong run recently. After taking down then-unbeaten Show Low at home last month, the Lady Vandals reached the championship game of the Eastern Arizona Holiday Tournament in Thatcher, narrowly losing to Pima, 58-56. In Miami’s tournament wins over Safford and St. David, freshman Tamia Pietila scored 25 and 21 points; she put up 25 again in the championship, and was averaging 21.4 a game on the season. The 10-1 Lady Braves came into Miami with an impressive streak of their own: eight straight wins, including five on the road. Junior Ellysia Cutter was San Carlos’ scoring leader, with 21 points per game.

Miami junior Demetria Dosela was first to score, and junior Savannah Pietila followed up with a three-pointer as the Lady Vandals built a quick 7-0 lead; it was 9-2 Miami after one quarter. San Carlos came back in the second, with Cutter tying the game at 12. The Lady Braves outscored Miami 17-8 in the quarter to take a 19-17 halftime lead. In the third quarter, San Carlos went up 25-17 on a basket and free throw by Cutter and a three-pointer. However, Miami made its own run: junior Leeyah Goss gave the Lady Vandals a 27-25 lead with a bucket, off a Tamia Pietila assist, and a free throw. At the end of three, Miami was ahead 33-32. However, San Carlos put together another 17-point quarter in the fourth to earn a 49-44 victory – their ninth straight and sixth on the road.

Tamia Pietila again led Miami in scoring, with 14 points including a pair of three-pointers; she also had four assists and four steals. Demetria Dosela added 9 points, Goss 8 and Savannah Pietila 7. At press time, no statistics were available for the Lady Braves.

With the win, San Carlos improved to 11-1, 3-0 in 2A Valley; Miami dropped to 9-4, 2-1 in 2A Valley.

The second game featured the Miami and San Carlos boys’ basketball teams, and San Carlos earned the victory there as well. The Braves, coming off their championship in last month’s Copper Cities Tournament, defeated the Vandals 64-50. Freshman Leandro Simbolo and sophomore Leshawn Browning led San Carlos, scoring 24 and 20 points; Simbolo also collected 13 rebounds. No statistics were available for Miami at press time. The Vandals were left 1-8 with the loss, and 0-3 in 2A Valley; the Braves improved to 6-4, 2-1 in 2A Valley.