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Poston Butte’s Jennifer Alvillar drives past Scottsdale Sagauro’s Amayah Kirkman during the first half of the Broncos’ 56-25 loss to the Sabercats on Tuesday in San Tan Valley.

SAN TAN VALLEY — Back in December, Poston Butte coach Savannah Bix said the goal for the Broncos was to make the 4A playoffs.

Entering Tuesday’s season finale, Poston Butte was ranked No. 20 in the latest 4A power rankings, and despite its 56-25 loss to No. 7 Scottsdale Saguaro, the Broncos were optimistic about their chances when the playoff brackets were released Wednesday.

“Starting Thursday, everyone goes back to 0-0 so it’s really who shows up and who battles the hardest that night,” Bix said. “We showed glimpses of greatness for sure that we can play anybody in the state when we show up and do everything we need to do.”

For the Broncos, the old saying of close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades might also include playing against the Sabercats, who improved to 18-7 overall and 7-3 in the 4A Desert Sky Region.

The Broncos were blown out by 64 points on Jan. 24 in a 90-26 loss to the Sabercats, but on Tuesday Poston Butte was able to close that gap — falling by 29 points this time around.

“There is always small victories in a loss,” Bix said. “They are a good team and they have earned that right. I felt when we played them a month ago to now, it was a totally different team. Defensively we played well, offensively it didn’t come together but we will be ready for Thursday.”

Saguaro jumped out to a 19-4 lead after the first quarter, but Poston Butte was able to close the gap to 10 points (21-11) midway through the second quarter. But that was as close as the Broncos would get all night as the Sabercats took a 31-12 lead at halftime and led 42-18 after the end of the third quarter.

Taeylor Reece led the Broncos (16-13, 4-6) with nine points while Zulyann Correa added eight points.

Amayah Kirkman led the Sabercats with 23 points and Ella Mullen and Tranety Perkins each had 10 points.

Poston Butte will wait to see where they will play in the 4A play-in game on Thursday. Bix said she doesn’t expect Tuesday’s loss to drop the Broncos too much.

“We shouldn’t because they are ranked so high but the AIA power rankings, nobody understands it,” Bix said. “If it stays the same we will get bumped to 21 because of that Black Canyon Region, so we might play Coconino in Flagstaff, which is my hometown.”

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