PRESCOTT VALLEY – The No. 2-seeded Phoenix NFL Yet boys basketball team captured the 1A Conference state championship, routing top-seeded Tucson The Gregory School, 75-50, Saturday afternoon at Prescott Valley Event Center.
The NFL Yet (29-2) defense never let The Gregory School’s offense get comfortable. The Gregory School’s star shooters, Addison Mort (20 points) and Nick Rosquist (14 points), hit double figures, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a 16-point deficit to start the fourth quarter.
“It’s a great feeling,” NFL Yet coach Humberto Ramirez said. “We knew that we were probably going to be facing them as our matchup at the end. I told the kids, ‘Offensively, they’re great. You just got to come out and commit defensively,’ and they did just that.”
Underclassmen Shekeedren Bryant (21 points) and Tyraill Carrethers (19) led the team.
“It feels amazing. We worked so hard for this,” Carrethers, a freshman, said. “Every day at practice, we were 150 percent, and today, we came out here and laid it all out on the court and got it.”
After coming off a 61-50 win over Phoenix Valley Lutheran in the semifinals, The Gregory School (29-2) got off to a slow start, allowing NFL Yet to go on a seven-point run
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Sebastian Quintana sank a 3-pointer to jumpstart The Gregory School’s offense. Rosquist, The Gregory School’s all-time leading scorer who averaged 29 points per game, hit a 3-pointer to start the second.
But NFL Yet’s defense disrupted any chance for The Gregory School to get set in its zone. A second possession violation gave NFL Yet possession, and senior guard Xavier Johnson capitalized on it, nailing a field goal as the halftime buzzer sounded.
In the third, Carrethers got a steal in the neutral zone and passed to Bryant, who had an uncontested layup, making the score 47-35 and forcing The Gregory School to take a timeout.
Ramirez noted the duo’s chemistry.
“They’re just great kids,” he said. “Their work ethic, their commitment, inter-city kids, they just know how to fight when the odds are stacked against them.”
The Gregory School couldn’t snap a scoring drought until Mort sank in a shot midway through the fourth quarter.
But NFL Yet, at the helm of Bryant and Carrethers, ran away with the victory.
Senior guard Chyanne Castro, the only girl on the court, made one final attempt at the basket before the final horn.
It ricocheted off the rim, but she still says that she wouldn’t have ended her high school basketball career any other way.
“It’s cool to play with the guys,” she said. “They see me as another teammate and not just a girl. It’s a family. This is a good way to say goodbye.”