Paradise Valley fends off Flagstaff Coconino

Paradise Valley fends off Flagstaff Coconino

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Paradise Valley fends off Flagstaff Coconino

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Paradise Valley fended off a dogged Flagstaff Coconino team that was relentless on the boards and eventually pulled away for a 67-59 Division II boys basketball victory Monday in the Martin Luther King Classic at Arizona State’s Wells Fargo Arena.

“I think we’re still jelling as a team, learning how to run our offense and play hard,” Paradise Valley Coach Mark MacGowan said.

Paradise Valley (17-5) used a 13-0 run during a two-and-a-half minute stretch in the opening quarter to take a 19-10 lead.

Paul Watson, a 6-foot-6 senior wing, led Paradise Valley with 17 points in the game. A few times he glided along the baseline for attempted dunks, only to get fouled and go to the free-throw line.

Paradise Valley led by eight at the half but Coconino came out strong in the second half, behind senior forwards Andy Bonner (17 points) and 6-5 Josh Ingram (18). Ingram, a stronger interior player, surprised Paradise Valley by hitting two 3-pointers from a good foot behind the arc.

Bonner continually went hard to the basket and set up teammates with good passes inside while drawing double teams.

Coconino (17-6) got to within 56-54 with four minutes left, before Watson scored on a short baseline jumper and point guard Brandon Williams knocked down a couple of free throws. Connor Euting scored inside and Paradise Valley led 62-54 with 1:49 left.

“We came out in the second half lackadaisical,” said Watson, who has signed with Fresno State. “Coach got on us about that. We tried to simulate things we do in practice and work hard.

“They were really putting pressure on us. And we had to come out as a team and get it together.”

Coconino outrebounded Paradise Valley 26-22, but Paradise Valley shot 59 percent from the field, 65 percent in the second half.

Anthony Walker had 13 points and Ryan Finley and sophomore Cedric Jacob-Jones each added 12 for Paradise Valley.

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