Since returning to Tucson after winter break, Sabino High School’s girls basketball team has gone on a tear. The Sabercats are 4-0, outscoring their opponents 270-119. Friday night, they beat Catalina by 58 points.
Things will get significantly harder on Monday.
The No. 1 squad in Class 3A will go up against Sahuaro, the undefeated No. 1 team in 4A, at 6:30 p.m. It’s one of the showcase games in the MLK Basketball Classic, which takes place all day inside McKale Center.
Sabino coach Jaamal Rhodes said he’s looking forward to playing Sahuaro, the east-side team’s archrival. Sabino is 13-7, with five of its losses coming at major tournaments on neutral sites. Sahuaro is 19-1, its only loss coming to Coos Bay, Oregon’s Marshfield High School in the finals of a tournament.
“Right now, they’re supposedly the best team in Tucson,” Rhodes said of Sahuaro. “And we want to be challenged. It’s going to be great.”
Rhodes said his team still has plenty of room for improvement, starting with chemistry.
Starter Trinity Yaeger has been out with a back injury. Her replacement suffered a concussion. As the calendar turned to 2019, the Sabercats debuted prized transfer Kiya Dorroh.
“Now, we’re trying to get everybody back together,” Rhodes said.
Dorroh, a 6-foot-1-inch sophomore who started receiving major college offers in sixth grade, began her high school career at neighboring Tanque Verde. Dorroh said she didn’t fit in, especially on the basketball court.
Dorroh and her family made the decision to transfer to Sabino following last season. Because of the change in schools, Dorroh was forced to sit out the first 18 games of the season. She made her season debut last Tuesday against Safford.
“Sitting out was really, really tough, of course,” Dorroh said. “Just watching, I just wanted to play, but I’ve definitely learned way more than I would have if I was playing. So, I guess that’s the positive of sitting out, but it’s over now.”
While Dorroh has caught the attention of some top programs, she isn’t the only one with Division I offers. Sophomore guard Kamryn Doty and freshman guard Kam’Ren Rhodes are likely to continue their careers in college.
Because the team is so young — there is only one senior on the roster — and is so packed with talent, Rhodes said the Sabercats have a bright future over the next few seasons.
“They tend to say ‘who(ever) has the ponies, wins the race,’” Rhodes said. “The more kids you have that can function at a high level, the better chance you give yourself to win the game. I mean, whenever you can add a high-functioning piece to what you have, it’s great.”