Scottsdale Christian Academy advances to semifinals

Scottsdale Christian Academy advances to semifinals

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Scottsdale Christian Academy advances to semifinals

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PRESCOTT VALLEY – No. 3-seed Scottsdale Christian Academy got what coach Bob Fredericks described as a “herculean” defensive effort in the final six minutes and advanced to the Division III boys basketball semifinals with a 50-39 victory over sixth-seed Goodyear Estrella Foothills on Monday at Tim’s Toyota Center.

After coach Rich Gutwein retooled his offense late in the season, moving 6-foot-4 senior Devon Hawkins from the wing to the point, Estrella Foothills won seven in a row and beat Scottsdale Christian by 14 points in the sectional tournament.

But Monday, Scottsdale Christian was ready.

Fredericks put 6-2 senior guard Clay Crookham on Hawkins, making him work harder than usual to get open looks.

Estrella Foothills missed its last 12 shots and didn’t score another point after taking a 39-33 lead with 6:08 left.

“Then, we threw a shutout,” Fredericks said. “And that shutout was against a very good hitting lineup.”

Scottsdale Christian (21-7), which lost to Snowflake here last year at state, advances to Friday’s semifinal matchup against either Gilbert Christian or Phoenix Cortez at 4:30 p.m. at Glendale’s Jobing.com Arena.

Hawkins, who led Estrella Foothils with 14 points a game, had only three points in the final three quarters.

Guard Logan Walberg, who had 18 points in the 60-46 win over SCA on Feb. 8, did not score after making a 3 in the game’s first three minutes.

“Instead of putting length on Walberg, we put speed on him and tried to chase him around,” Fredericks said.

Senior guard Zach Ruiz sparked Estrella Foothills (22-8) with a pair of 3s to in the first two minutes of the second quarter, giving Estrella Foothills a 22-18 lead.

Estrella Foothills went the last six minutes of the half without a field goal.

It regrouped in the final three minutes of the third quarter, with Ruiz’s 3 sparking an 11-4 run that gave Estrella Foothills a 37-33 lead. Semaj McFarlin scored on a feed from Folahan Ibiyemi-Aluko with 6:08 left and Scottsdale Christian was trailing 39-33.

Jared Frame had a 3 and two times in a row Crookham split the defense for layups and Scottsdale Christian had a 43-39 lead with 1:59 left.

Estrella Foothills tried getting the ball to Hawkins and Ruiz but neither could get a shot to fall, as Scottsdale Christian made five of seven shots down the stretch.

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