Phoenix Pinnacle boys basketball holds off Mesa to reach section final

Phoenix Pinnacle boys basketball holds off Mesa to reach section final


Phoenix Pinnacle boys basketball holds off Mesa to reach section final


A banged-up Trey Ingram showed hops at the end with a dunk.

Time had already run out and it didn’t count, but top-ranked Phoenix Pinnacle escaping tough Mesa 76-73 in the sectional semifinal Friday night at Scottsdale Chaparral gave the diminutive guard an extra bounce.

Junior guard Dorian Pickens made the defensive play of the game in the final 30 seconds, blocking a shot near the basket that led to an Ingram breakaway layup and a five-point lead.

“We just held our own,” Pinnacle coach Charlie Wilde said. “They played hard. Our defense stepped up.”

Pinnacle (22-6), which has won 12 in a row, plays Scottsdale Desert Mountain on Saturday night at 7:30 at Chaparral for the Division I, Section III tournament championship.

Guard D.J. Henderson (21 points) knocked down successive 3-pointers in less than 30 seconds, giving Mesa (24-5) a 20-10 lead late in the first quarter.

Pinnacle came back with tough defense and hustle on the offensive boards that extended possessions.

It took its first lead, 30-28, on Pickens’ jumper with 2:48 left in the half.

Neither team led by more than five points the rest of the way.

Pinnacle took a 66-61 lead with six minutes left on Lee Andari’s basket.

Mesa got as close as one on Henderson’s free throw with 57 seconds left.

Ingram (16 points), who hobbled off the court midway through the fourth quarter holding his knee, sank two foul shots with 41 seconds left to give Pinnacle a 74-71 lead.

“It was a dogfight,” said Pinnacle senior guard Drew Bender, who led Pinnacle with 18 points. “Trey and Dorian and I looked at each other near the end of the game and said, ‘Three more minutes, we’ve got to play.’ Trey got hurt. I said, ‘C’mon, we need you.’ It was physical. It was the most heated game I’ve ever been part of for a high school game.

“It was real fun. We’re two really good teams. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see other in the state championship game.”

Pinnacle made 16 of 17 foul shots. Mesa made 11 of 17 from the line.

Mesa Mountain View went into a zone and dared Desert Mountain to beat it from outside.

It did, knocking down six of its 10 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes, and advanced to the Division I, Section III boys basketball championship game with a 59-52 victory in the earlier semifinal.

Desert Mountain junior center Mark Andrews did a good job defending 6-foot-9 junior Payton Dastrup, trying to force him to score outside.

Dastrup showed his range in the second half, draining three 3-pointers from the top of the key. He finished with 19 points.

“He hit some tough shots,” Desert Mountain coach Todd Fazio said. “But we’d rather him try to beat us from 20 feet than two feet. He’s a great player.”


More USA TODAY High School Sports