In an exciting atmosphere, the Nogales Apaches traveled to the Sunnyside Blue Devils for a Friday Night Showdown. The gym was packed with fans from both sides, as it was a battle of two of the stronger big school programs in Southern Arizona. Sunnyside brought in a #16 6A Ranking (Open Unranked) and Nogales put their #6 5A Ranking (#22 Open) on the line.
From the get go, both teams battled physically, nearly trading baskets back and forth with multiple lead changes. Players diving for loose balls and tying each other up, this game was a making of a Instant GC3 Hoops Classic. The excitement and emotion poured in on both sides, but it seemed the play of the Blue Devil Dynamic Duo in Gabi Delgado and Nayeli Nidez-Acuña gave the Devils the upper-hand over the Apaches.
Nogales got into a lot of trouble in the 2nd half, so Coach Yahaira Sanchez had to sit impact players Astrid Zubiate and Cecey Burruel, which hurt the Apaches threats on both ends of the floor. Sunnyside’s Delgado and Nidez-Acuña capitalized the mis-matches and sparked a run to put the Devils up by double-digits where Coach Justin Delgado shifted his team into overdrive. Coach Delgado’s Devils would cruise to a 52-38 victory in an impactful power-point win for his program. Here are the prospects who caught my attention:
Jessica Villarino 2023 5-8 Wing
An intriguing sleeper prospect who is extremely talented. Villarino made an impact all four quarters with her IQ, finishing ability, three level scoring, defensive presence. A do-it-all prospect, she would be a solid pickup for a college looking for a playmaker. Villarino competes at a high level and will make the same impact at the next level.
Daniela Ochoa 2023 5-3 Shooting Guard
Ochoa is a silent sniper who impressed with her catch-and-shoot ability. She shot 4 for 5 from three-point range and hit important shots to sway momentum back toward her team.
Astrid Zubiate 2023 5-7 Wing-Forward
Zubiate is a physical prospect who thrives in the paint, however can defend the perimeter. An active rebounder, Zubiate could have made a bigger impact in the game, if she stayed out of foul trouble. I like her low-post scoring ability, as she has some nice back to the basket post moves.
Gabi Delgado 2023 5-3 Shooting Guard
One part of the Delgado Twin Duo, Gabi is a pure scorer who can score from all three ranges. Her aggression and intensity have made her a force to be reckoned with. She plays fearless on both ends of the floor, and colleges wanting an extremely aggressive-hardworking defender, look no further and get this young lady on your recruiting board.
Nayeli Nidez-Acuña 2024 5-9 Wing
Nidez-Acuña is one of my favorite sleeper prospects in the 2024 class, as she is another do-it-all playmaker who has great guard skills. A slasher who utilizes her sneaky quickness and length to get to the rack, she finishes through contact pretty well. Nidez-Acuña also cleans the glass pretty well, and I anticipate more colleges getting this young lady on their recruiting boards in the spring and summer.
Lexi Delgado 2023 5-3 Point Guard
Another part of the Delgado Twin Duo, Lexi is a pass first facilitator who looks to get her team involved in scoring. She has the ability to get down-hill to attack the gaps and get to the rack. Her upside is on defense, like her twin sister, she plays aggressively and has active hands and feet on defense. Lexi does not hesitate to dive on the floor for loose balls, and looks to tie up to get jump balls. Colleges needing a high-level defender should get this young lady on your board, as she has great upside.