Tempe Prep girls hold off Arizona Lutheran

Tempe Prep girls hold off Arizona Lutheran

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Tempe Prep girls hold off Arizona Lutheran

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When she is not playing basketball, Tempe Prep junior Camille Zimmerman is a sweet, soft-spoken teenager with a gentle disposition, but on the court she is a monster.

So when Thursday’s Division IV quarterfinal matchup against Phoenix Arizona Lutheran came down to the wire, it was time to unleash the beast.

It was Zimmerman’s nerves of steel on offense and her killer instinct on defense that helped No. 2 Tempe Prep pull off a narrow 46-43 victory over No. 10 Arizona Lutheran in the Division IV state tournament at Tim’s Toyota Center.

The defending champion moves on to face No. 3 Duncan in the semifinals Friday.

Trailing by a point with less than a minute to play, Zimmerman completed a 3-point play, drawing a foul on her way to the bucket, to give Tempe Prep a 45-43 lead with 38.3 seconds remaining in the game. She stole the ball on Arizona Lutheran’s next possession and went one-for-two on her next trip to the free throw line, extending the lead to three with 14.2 seconds left. Zimmerman knocked the ball loose again on Arizona Lutheran’s last possession in a takeaway that would seal the deal.

“I knew they’d give us a run for our money,” Zimmerman said. “I was just lucky to make some of those (shots) at the end.”

Zimmerman finished the day with 18 points for Tempe Prep.

Thursday marked the third time Tempe Prep and Arizona Lutheran have faced off this year, with the teams splitting the victories in the regular season.

“They were considered the dark horse of the tournament and we knew it was going to be a tough game for us,” Tempe Prep coach Nancy Calahan said.

Tempe Prep carried a slight lead into intermission, but Arizona Lutheran rallied early in the second half to come within two points heading into the fourth quarter. The lead changed hands five times in the last 10 minutes of the game.

Marissa Rich was another big part of Tempe Prep’s offense Thursday, finishing the day with 14 points. Calahan called Rich the team’s ‘X-factor.’

“When Marissa has a great game, we win. When Marissa has a bad game, we lose,” she said.

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