Maricopa is situated about 40 miles southwest of Phoenix.
People in the Valley may not be familiar with 45,000-resident town in Pinal County but now they know all about the Maricopa Lady Rams’ basketball team after they stunned second-seed Seton Catholic 52-49 Monday afternoon at Gila River Arena to claim their first ever hoops title and first team sport title in nearly 40 years.
“It feels good,” a tearful Raegene Womack said after scoring a team-high 15 points. “It means we’re the best in Division II. We made history.”
It was an unexpected script for Seton head coach Karen Self who was aiming for her eighth state title for the Chandler-based school. The Sentinels struggled in the opening quarter and trailed 17-10 heading to the second. The Rams were quicker to loose balls and controlled the action in the paint, even against the taller Seton who featured 6’2 sophomore twins Jenn and LeeAnne Wirth.
“We’re athletic,” Maricopa head coach Kati Burrows explained. “We were able to get to the rim. We wanted to keep the tempo up.”
The 12-seeds constant pressure at both ends of the floor kept Seton on their heels. Arguably the state’s top program could never really find their footing against the scrappy visitors from down south.
“That’s the best thing for us,” Burrows explained. “We took the underdog route.”
Seton had one last chance to tie the game in the closing seconds but freshman guard Sarah Barcello’s three-pointer bounced off the rim as the horn sounded and Rams stormed the court in celebration.
Maricopa’s Tiara Edmond scored 11 and forward Jamila Rodgers added 10 and a team-high nine rebounds..
The Wirth twins combined for 23 points, 20 rebounds, five blocks and four steals but committed nine of Seton’s uncharacteristic 20 turnovers.