Phoenix Shadow Mountain’s super sophs, Michael Bibby, J.J. Rhymes and Carlos Johnson, rallied their team from another deficit in the state tournament.
Like Saturday, when Shadow Mountain erased a six-point deficit to beat Tucson Catalina Foothills, Bibby hit two 3-pointers during a big fourth-quarter run that caught Tucson Salpointe, sparking a 76-66 victory Wednesday night over the top seed in the Division II boys basketball quarterfinal at Jobing.com Arena.
“Everything we do in practice is in situations where we have to fight to come back,” Johnson said. “It’s not over until it’s over here.”
Shadow Mountain advances to Thursday night’s 7:45 semifinal against Vail Cienega at Jobing.com Arena.
When the brackets came out, many looked at this quarterfinal as a state championship showdown.
Salpointe (25-6) jumped out to a 7-0 lead, and had top-ranked Shadow Mountain (27-3) down 41-31 midway through the third quarter after Cameron Denson followed in a miss.
Denson, playing with four fouls, hit a double-pump 3-pointer to end the third quarter, giving Salpointe a six-point edge, after Shadow Mountain had cut it to three with a 9-0 run, fueled by Rhymes and Johnson.
Bibby’s shot was mostly off until late. His 3 with 3:45 left tied it at 55-55.
A turnover enabled Johnson to get loose in the lane for a basket and Shadow Mountain led 57-55 with 3:23 to play. It was Shadow Mountain’s first lead of the game.
Bibby, who made the game-winning points in the two-point win over Catalina Foothills, set up Rhymes for a shot along the baseline, and Bibby swished a 3 from the top of the key for a 62-57 lead with 2:23 left.
Bibby made eight free throws in the final 1:40 and finished with 17 points.
Rhymes had 25 points and Johnson 24.
“We all feed off of each other,” Rhymes said. “We do what we have to do. We’re in this together.”
Denson, who missed much of the first half with three fouls, finished with 16 points.
Shadow Mountain made its move with Denson on the bench with four fouls in the final three minutes of the third quarter.
Its press created turnovers.
Thomas McEvoy made three 3-pointers in the final 1:29 for Salpointe. But Shadow Mountain’s late run was too much to overcome.
“We knew it was going to be tough,” Johnson said. “We just came out and played hard. Luckily, the ball was going in when we needed late in the game.”