Holiday tournaments have passed and the winter break is over. It’s time to jump right into the final stretch of the winter sports season.
The first full week of action in 2014 shouldn’t disappoint.
Among the things to watch are Tucson High’s undefeated boys soccer team trying to stay perfect, Marana’s girls soccer team facing a pair of tough road tests and onetime Catalina Foothills basketball coach Mark Felix facing his former team for the first time since leaving to take over at Ironwood Ridge.
Catalina is also hosting a wrestling invitational Friday and Saturday but we’ll talk about that later. Here’s what to watch before then:
Boys soccer: Tucson High (14-0-1) will open the second half of the season at Nogales at 6 p.m. on Tuesday as the host Apaches (9-4) will be trying to knock off the undefeated Badgers and get their third win in a row.
Sophomore forward Julian Gaona leads Tucson with 21 goals after earning team goal-scoring honors as a freshman last year.
Earlier this season, Gaona had a hat trick in a 3-2 win over Rincon/University in the championship game of the Brandon Bean Kickoff Classic. Less than a month later, Tucson also beat the Rangers in the final of the Chris Maier Invitational and, coincidentally, will face Rincon for the third time this season on Friday.
Girls soccer: Marana started the season with 10 straight wins but has since lost two of its last three matches and its next two might be the toughest yet.
The Tigers (11-2) travel to Ironwood Ridge at 6 p.m. on Wednesday and then play at Catalina Foothills two nights later.
I-Ridge is 8-3-1 but has yet to lose at home while the Falcons (8-0-3) are the four-time defending Division II state champions.
Junior Destiny Deverage has paced Marana with a team-high 11 goals. Meanwhile, senior captain Carly Merritt has scored eight goals and has dished out eight assists.
Boys basketball: Less than seven months after Felix departed Foothills to take over at Ironwood Ridge, he’ll have to face his former team in a playoff-caliber game when the Falcons and first-year coach Doug D’Amore travel to I-Ridge for a 7:30 p.m. game on Thursday.
Felix, who teaches in the Amphitheater School District, spent two seasons with the Falcons and led them to the playoffs each of those years, including last winter when Foothills earned the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye only to lose its opener. That turned out to be his final game with the Falcons.
Chances are both Foothills (9-4) and I-Ridge (8-8), who are ranked 18th and 19th in Division II, will make the state tournament next month but both need to make a run down the stretch if they want to host a game or earn a first-round bye.