Tempe Corona del Sol had players flying at Craig Randall, trying to get him to miss.
Finally, after scoring 18 of his 33 points in a frenzied final quarter Monday, top-ranked Corona del Sol turned to its freshman enforcer who turned visiting Phoenix Shadow Mountain away.
Marvin Bagley III, a 6-foot-10 freshman, scored on a follow dunk and made a defensive stop in the last 37 seconds to secure an 80-74 boys basketball victory.
“We were just trying to win,” said Randall, a 6-3 transfer from Ohio, who made six 3-pointers in the face of defenders. “We knew it was a big game. We came close against them the first time. They just got us at the end.”
Shadow Mountain, who is without its best player, junior guard Michael Bibby, for the season after he had a knee procedure last week, made it difficult for Corona del Sol, never going away with Randall and J.J. Rhymes both making difficult shots every time it looked like Corona del Sol was going to pull away.
Rhymes had 22 pointers and nailed a pair of 3s.
In the end, Bagley took over.
After Randall hit a shot to close the gap to 75-73, Bagley timed a teammate’s miss and dunked it for a four-point lead with 37 seconds left.
Bagley then forced a turnover and Saben Lee, who had maybe his best game with 18 points off the bench, sank two free throws with 18 seconds left, giving Corona del Sol (15-1) a six-point lead.
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“We just had to play together as a team and we came together at the end,” said Bagley, who had 19 points and led with 15 rebounds and four blocks.
At times Bagley rebounded and took the ball all the way, swooping between defenders for layups.
He did that halfway through the fourth quarter after Shadow Mountain cut it to three points.
“Offense wasn’t the problem,” Corona del Sol coach Sam Duane Jr.said. “Eighty points will get you a win every night. We did some things on defense we have to clean up. But they shot the ball really well.”
Corona del Sol feasted at the line with point guard Alex Barcello making his first nine free throws and finishing with 20 points.
“I realized we weren’t getting a lot of energy and I came in and helped any way I could,” said Lee, who also had five assists.