“Telling the Stories of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community”

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“Telling the Stories of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community”

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February 26, 2024

Varsity Dons Lose to Varsity Buffaloes in Tempe

By Juan Ysaguirre

On January 26, the Coronado High School Dons varsity boys basketball team traveled to Tempe for a matchup against their local rival, the Tempe High Buffaloes. Sophomore student-athlete and Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community member Julian Crowley got the start and showed why he’s one of the leaders on this year’s varsity team for the Dons. 

Crowley’s play was essential to the team’s goal of making it into the 4A playoffs this season and competing for a state championship. His impressive dribbling and NBA-ready jump shot caused the Buffaloes to quickly send their best defenders in to try to stop him. 

Both teams were vocal on the court, reminiscent of how the junior varsity game went between the two teams earlier in the day. During the second quarter, Crowley drove through the lane, absorbing contact while still making his layup. A Tempe High defender didn’t appreciate Crowley’s hard-earned bucket, and from that moment on stopping Crowley was the main focus of the Buffaloes’ game plan. The teams went into halftime with only a handful of points separating them. 

Tempe High had a different approach coming into the third quarter. Their adjustments would prove to be beneficial, as they would eventually grab the lead away from the Dons and never look back. 

When the dust settled after this hard-fought and highly entertaining game, the Tempe High Buffaloes would be the ones to claim victory against the Coronado Dons 52-54. 

Now with the playoffs on the horizon, the Dons must hope for a few teams in their conference to lose in order for their championship dreams to remain alive. The Dons finished the season with an overall win-loss record of 7-10, just good enough for them to be in the playoff conversations for seeding. 

The Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) 4A conference playoff play-in will begin on February 16. Following the play-in tournament, the official AIA playoffs will begin on February 21, with the AIA championship game scheduled for February 29 at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix.