Welcome to the second-season in high school sports, better known as the playoff stretch that enthralls players and fans alike.
This past weekend saw its fair share of do-or-die action, with the state wrestling championships going down in Prescott Valley, while the soccer playoffs and basketball play-in rounds lived up to their billing.
Here’s who stood out in a crowded field of state tournament competitors on Tucson’s north side over the past week:
The AIA State Wrestling Tournament took place over the weekend in Prescott Valley, with several regional programs turning in strong performances.
In Division II, the Mountain View Lions and Ironwood Ridge Nighthawks led the way, with the Lions finishing second overall, while the Nighthawks finished fourth.
The Lions finished with 127 points, with six wrestlers finishing in the top-six of their respective weight classes.
Marcus Castillo was the Lions’ lone champion, finishing first in the 132-pound class, while teammate Chris Lopez finished second in the 120-pound class.
Others, including Eric Purvin and Seth Legros, finished third in their respective classes, with Legros finishing third in the 126-pound class, while Purvin was third in the 195-pound class.
Brandon Paredes and Harrison Easby were the other Lions to finish strong, with Parades finishing fourth overall in the 113-pound class, while Easby finished sixth overall in the 145-pound class.
The Nighthawks finished the event with 111.5 points, with six wrestlers finishing in the top-six of their weight class.
Team members Tyler Rokop, Payton Billings, Jose Beltran and Chance Sasser all finished second in their class, while teammate Avery Parker finished fourth overall in the 160-pound class.
Santana Gomez finished off the event for the Nighthawks, finishing sixth overall in the 220-pound class.
The Canyon del Oro Dorados finished sixth overall in the Division III competition, finishing with 94.5 points overall.
Four Dorados finished in the top-five of their respective weight classes, led by Trey Trejo, who won the 126-pound championship.
His teammates Zane McKissick and Romeo Avalos finished second and third overall in the 160-and-106-pound classes, respectively.
Rene Garcia rounded out the event for the Dorados, finishing 5th overall in the 138-pound weight class.
Three girls soccer teams from 5A made the 16-team first round, with Mountain View and Marana doing so by defeating Apollo and Verrado in the play-in round.
Both lost their first round matches, with Mountain View falling to Campo Verde, 4-2, while the Tigers fell to Desert Mountain, 5-1.
The top-seeded Ironwood Ridge Nighthawks blanked 16th seed, Agua Fria, 4-0, playing Cactus Shadow in Wednesday’s second round.
In 4A, the fifth-seeded Catalina Foothills Falcons beat Glendale, 4-1, while the Canyon del Oro Dorados fell to Seton Catholic, 3-0.
In 3A, the Pusch Ridge Christian Academy Lions lost in the first round to fifth-seeded Anthem Prep, 2-1.
Canyon del Oro and Catalina Foothills were the lone boys teams to qualify for the state playoffs, with the Dorados losing to fourth seed, Flagstaff, 2-1.
The Falcons defeated 10th-seeded Thunderbird, 3-2 in overtime, advancing to play Tempe High School after deadline on Tuesday.
Several girls basketball teams qualified for the playoffs in 5A, with Ironwood Ridge advancing to the round of 16 by beating Mountain View in Thursday’s play-in round, 41-33.
The Marana Tigers played ninth seed Maricopa after deadline on Tuesday night. The Nighthawks play second-seeded Gilbert that same night.
In 3A, the Pusch Ridge Christian Academy Lions clinched the 12th seed in 3A, playing Monument Valley on Tuesday night in the tournament’s opening round.
Four local programs qualified for the boys basketball postseason, with Marana and Mountain View reaching the 5A play-in round Thursday.
The two teams had diverging results, with the Lions beating Cienega, 75-71, while Marana lost to Cholla, 46-43. The Lions played top-seed Gilbert on Wednesday night.
The Catalina Foothills Falcons beat Bradshaw Mountain in the 4A play-in round, 70-32, and played sixth-seed Seton Catholic on the road Tuesday in the first round.
Pusch Ridge received a first round bye in 3A, playing the winner of Tuesday’s Safford-Blue Ridge game in the tournament’s second round on Saturday, Feb. 16.