The die was cast in the early minutes of Marana High School’s girls basketball opening round playoff game against Maricopa Tuesday night, and the home side came up short.
The Tigers (18-9, 9-1) trailed wire-to-wire against the Rams, eventually losing, 58-48 to end their season.
Both sides engaged in a defensive slugfest for much of the game’s first half, with the Rams’ suffocating defense thwarting the Tigers’ high-flying offensive attack.
The home side trailed 26-13 at the half, and 48-29 at the end of the game’s third quarter in a game the visitors dominated early.
First-year Tigers coach Tory Perez praised his team’s effort through the night and the season, saying he expects the team to use their playoff experience as a learning experience.
“These are once in lifetime experiences for these young ladies, and hopefully now we can rack this up as experience and grow from it,” Perez said. “Basically, use it as a stepping stone.”
The Tigers were forced to play without junior forward Anabella Muscoreil, who led the Tigers in scoring (15.3) during the regular season, after Muscoreil suffered a concussion in the team's final regular season game on Feb. 5.
Freshman Brianna Sealy, who was tasked with filling in for Muscoreil, led the Tigers offensively on Tuesday, with 13 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.
Sealy was the one of two Tigers to finish the night in double figures, with Antoinette Audiss scoring 10 points, sophomore Gabby Rojel adding eight points, and teammate Victoria Lynch scoring six points.
Perez is hopeful that this year’s team, which featured two seniors on its roster, will have enough experience returning to set up a longer postseason run in the years ahead.