The three-time defending Region 1 champion Cochise College Lady Apaches were dethroned 74-73 in overtime Tuesday, March 3 in Cochise Stronghold in the Region 1 semifinals by a pesky Eastern Arizona team they had split with during the regular season.
The two seeded Lady Apaches fell behind early to three seed Eastern 17-12 at the end of the first quarter.
Cochise trailed 32-29 in the closing seconds of the half when Eastern drilled a three as the buzzer for halftime sounded, giving the Gila Monsters a 35-29 lead.
The Lady Apaches fought back in the third and tied the game at 44 Nikya Orange scored a pair.
Cochise found itself down five points in the fourth, but again fought back taking a 57-56 lead as Raena Suggs drilled a three-pointer. Eastern countered with a three to go up 59-57 and then followed with another three to lead 62-57 with two minutes remaining.
Kayla Harris’ three pointer with 35.5 seconds left in regulation gave Cochise a 64-62 lead.
Up 65-62 with five seconds remaining, Cochise was called for a foul as Eastern was attempting a three-point shot. Jalen Long went to the free-throw line for EAC and sank all three free-throws, tying the game at 65, sending it into overtime.
Eastern hit a three early in OT to go up 68-65. Suggs countered with a three tying the game at 68. Eastern responded with a three to go back up 71-68.
Suggs would drill a three with just under 15 seconds remining, giving the Lady Apaches a 73-72 lead.
That enough time for Eastern to get down court and sink a pair taking a 74-73 lead with six seconds remaining.
Cochise would have one last attempt to win the game. Harris’ shot as time expired rolled around the rim and just as it appeared it was going in the net, instead rolled out giving Eastern a dramatic win.
Suggs would finish the game with 25 points, Sherrod 23, and Harris chipped in 12.
The Gila Monsters now play unbeaten Central Arizona College for the Region 1 championship Friday at 6 p.m.
Cochise meanwhile, ends its season 26-5 overall.
Post season honors
Post season honors were handed out recently and four members of the Lady Apaches were honored.
Suggs made First Team All-Region and First Team All-ACCAC. Harris was Second Team All-Region and Second Team All-ACCAC. Sharmayne Finley and Vinisha Sherrod were both Second Team All-Region and Honorable Mention All-ACCAC.