Markus Howard had 29 points in the first half, but Gilbert Perry still trailed by seven.
When Phoenix Desert Vista made it more difficult in the second half for the sophomore guard to score, the second-ranked hosts pulled away for a 78-58 Division I boys basketball victory Tuesday night.
Howard, making his return after missing two weeks with a concussion, finished with 37 points, making 6 of 10 3-pointers. He made 8 of 20 two-point field goals and 3 of 3 free throws.
“Our goal was to make sure nobody else hurt us,” said Desert Vista coach Tony Darden, whose 16-1 team was coming off an 85-82 victory Monday night over Mesa Skyline at US Airways Center. “I think after the other day’s game against Skyline, we talked as a team to make a change on defense. Team defense overall was pretty good.”
Desert Vista got strong contributions from guard Quincy Taylor (17 points, three rebounds, three assists, taking a charge), forward Brandon Clarke (15 points, 12 rebounds, three steals, four assists, six blocks), wing Caleb Simmons (18 points) and guard Tarik Cool (14 points).
“I think we shared the ball,” Darden said. “At any given point, our starting five or guys off the bench contributed.”
On the beat: More high school coverage from Richard Obert
In other games Tuesday:
– Paradise Valley (15-2) took advantage of several Tempe technical fouls in the second half, including two by forward Emanuel Gant, and pulled away for a 72-59 Division II victory at home over the No.1-ranked team.
Gant will have to sit out the next game against Phoenix Sierra Linda, after being ejected from the game for getting two technical fouls, coach Tom Saltzstein said.
Paradise Valley trailed by as much as 15 points in the first quarter, before tying it at 34 at halftime.
It was able to get good penetration with junior guard Dominic Rogiers scoring 26 points and forward Cedric Jacobs-Jones getting 19 points to go with 16 rebounds.
“Tempe kind of lost its composure a little bit,” Paradise Valley coach Mark MacGowan said. “Their players had at least four technicals. That opened the game. They cut it to three with two minutes to go. It was like riding a roller-coaster. We hit our free throws and took care of the ball.”
Saltzstein said there was a change in a referee in the second half.
“Either way, regardless, we have to be mentally tough in that,” Saltzstein said. “That’s the beauty of playing on the road. The home crowd is cheering against you.
“We had a real hard time stopping their penetration. They got the ball into Cedric, who is a heck of a player. He has a good understanding of the game. The bottom line, they were the better team.”
– Peoria Sunrise Mountain improved to 15-1 with a 63-51 victory over Buckeye Verrado, as Elijah Thomas led with 17 points followed by guard Trey Hoebee’s 16 points.
– Jake O’Brien made 8 3-pointers and finished with 29 points, leading Chandler Valley Christian to a 68-54 victory over Fountain Hills, which has lost two in a row after being ranked No. 1 in Division III last week. Valley Christian (14-5) outscored Fountain Hills (10-3) 44-23 in the second half. Austin Keating had 15 points to lead Fountain Hills.
– Travis Flake had 19 points, and Jordan Gardner 17 to lead Snowflake (14-2) to a 65-54 victory over rival Show Low (15-6).
Snowflake outscored Show Low 41-24 in the second half after trailing 30-24.
– Phoenix Country Day (13-2) bounced back from an overtime loss to top-ranked Scottsdale Prep, defeating Phoenix Valley Lutheran 97-43 in a Division IV game. PCDS scored at least 20 points in each quarter, including 27 in the opening eight minutes.
Arizona’s Top 25 high school boys basketball players:
It’s time to shake up Richard Obert’s preseason Top 25 boys basketball players rankings with a midseason list. Much has changed. A freshman has shown dominance around the basket not seen in Arizona since Richard Jefferson.