PRESCOTT VALLEY — Thanks to a fourth-quarter effort that it was much more familiar with, No. 11 seed Phoenix Veritas Prep lived to see another day at the Division IV state tournament.
Veritas Prep (17-7) outscored No. 22 seed Flagstaff Northland Prep 24-9 to wipe away a seven-point deficit heading into the quarter to post a 56-48 win at Tim’s Toyota Center and advance to today’s second round against No. 6 El Capitan at 9 a.m. at the same site.
“We were 100 percent outplayed for three quarters, especially on the defensive end,” Veritas Prep coach Tom Horyza said.
Veritas Prep’s Ben King led all scorers with 22 points. Teammates Michael DeCindis added 16 and Matthew Zabilski 13. Northland Prep was led by Jordan Mace’s 14 points.
Thanks to missed Veritas Prep layups and 2 of 8 shooting from the floor for the quarter, Northland Prep raced to a 7-0 lead to start the game and took a 15-5 lead after one quarter on a late Chad Timberlake 3-point shot.
King’s 3-pointer began a 10-1 Veritas Prep run to trim the lead to 19-15 midway through the second, and another 3 by King gave Veritas Prep its first lead 22-21 with six seconds remaining in the half. But Braxton Hibbert’s driving layup put Northland Prep ahead, 23-22 at the half.
Despite its strong second quarter, Veritas Prep still couldn’t shake Northland Prep (13-13) in the third. Zabilski scored twice off of layups to lift Veritas to a 28-25 lead, but consecutive Veritas Prep turnovers late in the quarter led to a 6-0 Northland Prep run to close the quarter with Northland Prep ahead 39-32.
Veritas Prep finally put things together on both ends of the court early in the fourth. DeCindes scored six points and made two critical steals and King scored five points during a 17-2 run for a 49-41 lead with 1:59 to play in the game.
Northland Prep hung in and Luke Jarrin’s 3-pointer cut the lead to 52-48 with 28 seconds to play, but King hit four free throws to ice the game.