Pinnacle boys basketball moves on

Pinnacle boys basketball moves on

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Pinnacle boys basketball moves on

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Drew Bender sat at the end of the bench with his injured left ankle in a walking boot.

Trey Ingram took a seat on the bench in the first half with foul trouble.

No problem.

Dorian Pickens had four steals in the game’s first 12 minutes, scored 12 of his team’s 14 points during a critical second-half stretch and finished with 24 in Phoenix Pinnacle’s 73-59 victory Saturday night over visiting Vail Cienega in a Division I second-round game.

Third-seeded Pinnacle (24-6), which has won 14 in a row, advances to Tuesday’s 4:15 p.m. quarterfinal against No. 11 Gilbert — a 57-55 winner over Scottsdale Chaparral — at Arizona State’s Wells Fargo Arena.

With Bender out, Pickens, a 6-5 junior guard, appears ready to put the team on his shoulders.

“My teammates are counting on me,” Pickens said.

Cienega (21-8), which beat Avondale Westview in overtime Thursday in the first round, tied Pinnacle at 51 entering the final quarter on Terrence Johnson’s put-back dunk at the buzzer. It capped a 7-0 Cienega run in the final 1:43 of the quarter.

With Ingram in foul trouble much of the second half, the offense ran through Pickens, who brought the ball down the court.

He converted a 3-point play to start the final quarter. Ingram then nailed a 3, his first points since he had Pinnacle’s first six to start the game.

Suddenly, Pinnacle had a 57-51 lead.

A couple of minutes later, Pickens scored on a drive and put in a miss for a 61-54 lead.

Cienega didn’t make a field goal in the final 6:45.

Pickens helped shut down Johnson, who had no points in the final eight minutes after scoring 21 points in the first three quarters.

“We had momentum and we just gave it up at the end,” Johnson said. “They got a bunch of offensive rebounds and retaliated.”

Will Donovan, who normally is Pinnacle’s first player off the bench, started in place of Bender and had 10 points in the first half.

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