PRESCOTT VALLEY – Scottsdale Prep guard Matt Munsil led the charges in second-round play of the Division IV boys state basketball tournament Saturday afternoon, but that wasn’t always a good thing.
“I think there were four (charging calls) called and he had three of them,” Scottsdale Prep coach Chad Clum said.
It became a problem when Munsil picked up his fourth foul late in the third quarter and went out of the game as 10th-seeded Tucson St. Gregory was trimming a 16-point lead down to three, but Munsil returned early in the fourth to re-ignite the Scottsdale Prep attack in a 55-43 Scottsdale Prep win at Tim’s Toyota Center.
Munsil finished with 21 points to lead Scottsdale Prep (21-5) into Thursday’s 4:30 p.m. quarterfinal against second-seeded Tucson Desert Christian, a 53-29 winner over Teec Nos Pos Red Mesa. Teammates Ben Arqueros chipped in 12, Ethan Wright 10 and Nick Smith eight.
St. Gregory guard Benny Louchheim scored most of his team’s points and brought his team back a couple of times to lead all scorers with 23 points.
“It was a very physical game and they threw some stuff at us that we hadn’t seen lately,” Clum said. “Their big guys controlled the paint very well.”
Scottsdale Prep came out strong. Arqueros and Smith hit 3-point shots early and Scottsdale Prep raced to an 8-2 lead, but St. Gregory closed the quarter with a late 7-0 with five of those points from Louchheim to cut the lead to 10-9 lead after one quarter.
Wright scored four points, including a drive to the basket, and Joseph Herrera-Theut hit a 3 to extend the lead to 21-13 midway through the quarter on the way to a 29-19 lead at the half and 35-19 early in the third.
Louchheim brought St. Gregory back with a pair of jumpers and Nick Smith hit a 3 and was fouled on the play for a four-point play that trimmed the lead to 29-19.
Munsil then picked up his fourth foul and went to the bench and Scottsdale Prep missed its last five shots and turned the ball over twice while Louchheim scored two more times on drives to keep St. Gregory within reach at 40-33 after three.
“I knew we needed a little bit of momentum and tried to make some plays and attack the rim and get to the free throw line,” Munsil said.
But Louchheim continued to sizzle into the fourth, scoring in succession on two drives to cut the lead to 40-37.
Munsil came back into the game and Scottsdale Prep built the lead back up. Munsil scored on two consecutive drives and Herrera Theat hit a jumper to open a 48-38 lead midway through the fourth and never looked back.
“I think we just wore them down toward the end,” Clum said. “We tried to run the ball and get more shots. They tried to slow the temp and get back.”