February 2, 2005
The Basha High girls soccer team had exceeded people’s expectations all season long. So why stop when it reached the state 4A tournament?
With a shocking 2-1 overtime win over No. 6 Pinnacle, the Bears wrote a major piece of their youthful school’s history Tuesday night by becoming the first Basha sport team to win a state playoff game.
The upset came on the heels of a season that saw the upstart Bears finish just one game behind defending state champion Chaparral in the East Sky Region, despite not competing with any seniors. It is just the third year of the school’s existence, and second in which it has fielded a varsity soccer team.
The Bears will now travel to face Catalina Magnet in second round action Thursday night.
"This is the best game they’ve played all year," Basha coach Eric Katz said. "With every game, they are getting one step better. Getting to state was an accomplishment I thought we could do, but getting through the first round? I didn’t think we’d ever make it this far."
Basha midfielder Rinda Romney broke a 1-1 tie just more than two minutes into the first overtime period. Pinnacle defender Jordan Jenness received a crossing pass at the top of the Pioneers’ box before she attempted to clear the ball. The kick struck Romney in the face and bounced behind Jenness, leaving Romney wide open for a shot, which she squeezed into the far corner of the net.
"That was unbelievable," Romney said. "I was like, ‘we still have time left in the game; lets keep it going.’ But it was really exciting because this is the (first state playoff win) in the history of Basha, and I’m happy to be a part of it."
The Pioneers had a number of scoring chances in the second overtime period, but the night clearly did not go their way. While the final score did not indicate it, Pinnacle’s play did indeed warrant its high ranking, as the Pioneers outshot Basha and played a majority of the game on the Bears’ half of the field.
"I’ve been proud of them all year, but this is disappointing, because this is a team we probably should have beaten," Pinnacle coach Kevin Rathkey said. "Lots of people thought we were going to go a lot farther than this including ourselves. But Basha came out and played real hard, and there were a couple bad bounces for us."
Basha drew first blood with 16 minutes remaining in the first half when defender Ashley Jimenez popped in a goal amid traffic after Katie Gaab passed the ball in front of the net.
The score sparked a flurry of scoring opportunities for Pinnacle in the ensuing minutes, capped off with a goal when forward Kristen Donati tapped the ball toward the net following a skirmish.
Two Basha defenders sprinted to stop the shot, but tripped over the ball as it crossed the goal line.