Welcome to the penultimate week of girls basketball action in Arizona, with playoff odds formalizing by the day.
The six programs of northwest Tucson face differing odds of qualifying for the big dance, which begins in earnest in mid-February.
The Marana Tigers (16-7, 7-0) appear to have the best odds of qualifying, as they currently sit in the ninth spot in 5A, as of Tuesday morning.
The Pusch Ridge Christian Academy Lions (17-6, 5-1) are also solidly in the field as of now, with the eighth spot in Tuesday’s 3A rankings.
Ironwood Ridge and Mountain View look to be headed for the 5A play-in round, holding down the 17th and 19th spots in Tuesday’s rankings.
As a reminder, the teams ranked 9-24 in Divisions 2A, 4A, 5A and 6A will be put in the single-elimination play-in round, which tips off on Thursday, Feb. 7 in the latter three divisions.
The top-16 teams in 3A qualify for the tournament, as there is no play-in round in that division, as well as in Division 1A.
Without further ado, here’s who stood out the most in a packed field of talented girls basketball players over the past seven days:
3. Emily Chua (Catalina Foothills senior guard)
Stats: 17 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds (43-42 win, CDO)
Chua was red-hot in the Falcons’ one-point win over the Dorados on Jan. 22, pacing the team with 17 points, hitting 6-of-14 shots. The 5-foot-7-inch guard has been a cog in the Falcons’ offense, scoring 12.8 points per game to guide the squad to a 5-2 record against section opponents, sitting in the 27th spot in 4A. The Falcons have a shot at making the play-in round, with games against Casa Grande and Sahuaro at home, with a road matchup against Salpointe Catholic in the middle. Winning two-of-three, especially if it’s against the Cougars and Lancers, would go a long way toward securing a spot in the playoffs for the Falcons.
2. Angel Addleman (Pusch Ridge Christian Academy junior guard)
Stats: 30 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists (62-56 loss, Safford)/6 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist (58-1 win, Catalina Magnet)/23 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist (40-37 win, Valley Christian)
Addleman has been phenomenal all year for the Lions, scoring 19.1 points per game, to go with 6.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists from the guard position. Her contributions have sparked the squad to a surefire playoff appearance under coach Lonnie Tvrdy, which speaks to the junior’s two-way playing abilities. Her ability to snatch rebounds from the guard position, while dishing out assists and hitting shots of all types speaks to her unique skillset. Addleman should be a first-team All-Division member this season, with the Lions sitting pretty in 3A heading into the playoffs.
1. Anabella Muscoreil (Marana junior forward)
Stats: 27 points, 9 rebounds, 9 rebounds, 1 assist (52-39 win, Sunnyside)/9 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists (34-29 win, Ironwood Ridge)
Muscoreil might be the most talented two-way forward in the city, with the 6’3 junior dominating on the glass this season. She’s averaging 15.6 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game for the Tigers this season, pacing a high-flying offense that’s averaging 45.5 points per game under first-year coach Tory Perez. The Tigers are 7-0 against section foes, having won all six of their games in the new year. The squad finishes out the regular season with games against Buena, Cienega and Nogales, three teams they beat by a combined 65 points in their first meetings this season. Expect Muscoreil to continue her dominant play, with an unmatched combo of size, speed and skill that’s hard to counteract at the high school level. The Tigers are sitting pretty in 5A, with a real shot at clinching a home game in the first and second rounds of the playoffs, should they win out to finish with a 19-7 record.