CASA GRANDE — It hasn’t been the ideal start to the season Casa Grande Union has been hoping for, but with each game they have been competing and improving. In a matchup with Tucson Sahuaro, CG Union kept it close throughout the entirety of game but lost 59-54 on Thursday.
A battle between Cougars, Casa Grande (0-5) led by a point after the end of the first quarter. Then, just before halftime, CG Union gained momentum after trailing by five points earlier in the game with a couple of 3-pointers by Damon Newton and Darian “DJ” Walker that would tie game going into the second half.
However, throughout the game, turnovers became a problem for Casa Grande. It committed 22 turnovers with 14 of them coming from Sahuaro steals. CG Union wouldn’t give up, as it kept pressuring Sahuaro and playing tough basketball.
Sahuaro (2-2) would hold onto its lead as it continued to run out the clock.
“We have to keep doing what we're doing,” CG Union coach Chad Howell said. “Even though we are losing, we are getting better every single game. We need to stick to our offense, stick with ourselves, stick with our team and continue to work hard on defense, then good things will happen.”
Junior forward Anthony Flores led the way for Casa Grande with 21 points and five rebounds. Senior guard Damon Newton was behind Flores with 18 points but led the way with seven rebounds and five assists. Two other guards, Aaron Blunt and Darian Walker, each finished with six points.
Sahuaro had two productive scorers against CG Union. Senior forward Rene Gallegos recorded a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Gallegos showed off his defense with four blocks. Senior guard Kevin Potter finished with 18 points and three rebounds.
Defensively, Casa Grande put pressure on Sahuaro in the second half. Even though CG Union committed 22 turnovers, it forced 22 turnovers on Sahuaro. Toward the end of the game, instead of fouling to send Sahuaro to the free-throw line, Casa Grande stayed with the pressure and got Sahuaro to commit a few turnovers that led to points.
The record is not what CG Union was hoping to have at this point in this season, but with an unfamiliar team, it still trying to find its way.
“These kids haven’t been together, so this is the first time this team has ever played together,” Howell said. “We have been playing since early November. They are still learning how to play together, and we are learning how to mix and match combinations with players. Once we figure out what works for us, this will help us pick up our starts.”