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Lady Braves capture 2A Valley title

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The Miami Lady Vandals and San Carlos Lady Braves varsity basketball teams had met twice this season, with each winning in the other’s home gym, and Saturday’s third meeting – at San Carlos High School – would decide the 2A Valley champion.

Both teams won easily in last week’s 2A Valley tournament semifinals: Miami with a 64-17 win over Gilbert Classical Academy, and San Carlos cruising past Leading Edge Academy-GEC 67-31. Against the Lady Spartans, Miami freshman Tamia Pietila put up an impressive triple double with 21 points, 11 assists and 11 steals; junior Demetria Dosela added 14 points.

On Saturday it was San Carlos who scored first, on a jumper by freshman Malia Antonio. As the gym rocked to chants of “Let’s Go, Braves!” and “Let’s Go, Vandals!,” the Lady Braves took control of the first quarter, building a 16-4 lead as Antonio, junior Ellysia Cutter, sophomore Kylee Juan and senior Jenessa Victor each scored four. Cutter also made two steals, turning one into a layup.

The next two quarters would be closer (15-13 and 27-21 for San Carlos), but the Lady Braves enjoyed a 58-38 advantage at the end of the third – a lead Miami, despite winning the fourth quarter 22-11, could not overcome. In this third meeting, the Lady Braves came out on top 69-60 to capture the 2A Valley tournament title.

Cutter, Juan and sophomore Caylee Longstreet led the way for San Carlos with 15, 12 and 11 points respectively. For the Lady Vandals, Tamia Pietila had 20 points and five steals while junior Savannah Pietila added 18 points and six steals.

Next up for the 24-3 Lady Braves and 21-5 Lady Vandals are the 2A state playoffs, which begin Thursday, February 8 with a play-in round at host schools to be announced. The championship’s first round starts on Friday, February 16, at the Findlay Toyota Center in Prescott Valley.