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Berean soars over Red Raiders

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SIERRA VISTA — The Berean Academy boys basketball team defeated Ajo High School 70-43 Wednesday evening at Sierra Vista Unified Methodist Church.

Berean came out of the gate with speed and strong defensive pressure. The Eagles soared to a 14-7 lead with just under three minutes to play in the first quarter. The Berean defense was able to cause a number of Ajo turnovers for easy buckets for the home squad. The Red Raiders’ offense was able to find a rhythm and flow with the constant turnovers. Berean held a 22-9 lead at the end of the first eight minutes.

“Last year we were beat by them,” said Eagles head coach Ben Lewis. “This year we came in with a different approach. We focused on defense, which led to steals and easy buckets.

“We played really well defensively, which led to a lot of fast breaks.”

Pancho Campos lead Berean with seven steals.

The Eagles continued their offensive prowess in the second quarter.

Nnemiah Naaben had the hot hand for Berean, as he led all players with 22 points. He scored 18 of his points in the first half. The Eagles’ defense allowed just five Red Raider points in the second quarter.

Berean held a 38-14 advantage at halftime.

Berean struggled offensively in the third quarter. They managed to put 13 points on the board, but points were netted further than in the previous quarters. The visiting team scored 20 points in the third frame, which was the most they scored in any quarter Tuesday evening. Ralph Rosales led the Red Raiders with 18 points, six of which were made in the third. Despite the high scoring quarter for Ajo, the visitors still found themselves down 17 points heading into the final eight minutes.

The deficit was too much for the Red Raiders to overcome in the last quarter, especially with easy buckets being made in transition and open looks for the Eagles.

DeAndre Hawthorne had 18 points and six steals for Berean in the win. Dylan Espich led the Eagles with five rebounds.

“The guys worked really hard, and I’m proud of them,” Lewis said after the win.

The Eagles are back in action Friday when they play Brighton in Peoria.

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