Shadow Mountain slows, then accelerates to win over Hamilton for McClintock hoops title

Shadow Mountain slows, then accelerates to win over Hamilton for McClintock hoops title

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Shadow Mountain slows, then accelerates to win over Hamilton for McClintock hoops title

Shadow Mountain's Marcus Shaver (#0) drives past Hamilton's Rashad Smith (#10) during the second quarter of their game on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, at McClintock High School in Tempe, Ariz.

Shadow Mountain’s Marcus Shaver (#0) drives past Hamilton’s Rashad Smith (#10) during the second quarter of their game on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, at McClintock High School in Tempe, Ariz.

Phoenix Shadow Mountain wastes no time getting the ball down the court and finding the first open man to score.

But for a couple of minutes in the final quarter of a two-point game Thursday night, sophomore guard Jovan Blacksher stood still a little past  mid-court and dribbled the ball, waiting to see if Chandler Hamilton would come out to guard.

Hamilton didn’t budge from its sagging zone.

Top-ranked Shadow Mountain went back into attack mode and scored eight straight points, finally pulling away for a 69-59 victory and the Tempe McClintock Shootout Classic championship to go 16-0 in December.

“They were playing a good zone and we were just trying to bring them out,” coach Mike Bibby said. “We wanted to spread them out a little bit.”

RELATED: Sunnyslope’s Jaran Whitfield banks in 70-footer as time expires

Shadow Mountain (16-0), which won’t play again until Jan. 10, could use a break after getting a rare tough test from an Arizona team.

Hamilton (12-4) pounded the boards in the second quarter and hit practically every shot it took during a 24-11 uprising that gave it a 38-34 halftime lead.

Bibby got on his players to get after it defensively, and the Matadors went on a 13-0 run to open the second half, forcing seven turnovers before Hamilton scored its first points more than four minutes in.

“I told them, ‘Our problem wasn’t offense; our problem was defense,’ ” Bibby said. “They were doing whatever they wanted. They were getting offensive rebounds. We kind of shut that down in the second half.”

Shadow Mountain has won 40 consecutive games against Arizona schools. Its last loss to an Arizona team came in the 2015 state semifinals to Gilbert Christian.

Since then, it’s been an impressive run under Bibby, who is taking advantage of an amazing trio of guards – senior Marcus Shaver and sophomores Jaelen House and Jovan Blacksher – with their speed, quickness, skills and ability to hit 3-pointers.

Shaver had 22 points, House 21 and Blacksher 14 on Thursday night. All three are interchangeable.

Add the unselfish play of another point guard willing to play another position, Darion Spottsvile, and add the only big, 6-foot-6 Tyler Jafary, and it is a devastating basketball blend.

“We just had to pick up our defensive rotations,” said Shaver, who has signed with UC Santa Barbara after transferring in this summer from Texas. “We weren’t rotating right. We needed to crash the boards more. We just had to pick up the little things to get the lead back.”

Shaver has fit right in after having to sit out the first nine games because of the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s transfer rule.

He is averaging 21 points in seven games since being eligible. House also averages 21 points and Blacksher 18.

“It took a little time to get the team chemistry going but it’s going pretty good,” Shaver said.

MORE: Son of Arizona coach Sean Miller carving own basketball path at Salpointe

It appears the 4A Conference will be a cakewalk to a third state title in four years for Shadow Mountain. But it will play both Scottsdale Saguaro and Phoenix St. Mary’s twice among its final seven regular-season games, and Bibby expects to see everybody’s best shot.

“We’re going to get everybody’s best game,” Bibby said. “We have an in-state winning streak that I don’t think a lot of teams have seen in Arizona. The guys step up to the game. This game, they hit us in the mouth first, but we fortunately bounced back. But they’re a great team.”

Doug Harris’ bunch was led by 6-5 wing Rashad Smith’s 18 points. Guard Tyson Brown had 12 points and swingman Chance Brewington added 10.

In the third-place game, Matt Kempton had 19 points, leading Phoenix Brophy Prep to  a 55-48 win over Chandler. Chandler was led by 6-5 junior Tevian Jones’ 23 points.

Anthem Boulder Creek won the consolation championship with a 59-45 victory, denying Mesa Dobson coach Rick McConnell his 600th career win.

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  • Avondale Westview (13-1) captured Goodyear Desert Edge’s Scorpions tournament title on Thursday night with a 72-66 victory over Goodyear Estrella Foothills. Brenden Van Dyke, the son of former Mesa High great and UTEP center David Van Dyke, had 37 points and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Christian Diaz added 16 points for Westview.

Suggest human interest stories to Richard Obert at richard.obert@arizonarepublic.com or 602-316-8827. Follow him at azc_obert

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