Gilbert Christian knocked off defending champion Shadow Mountain 87-74 to advance to the boys Division II state basketball finals at Gila River Arena in Glendale on Saturday afternoon.
Despite Shadow Mountain guard Craig Randall scoring a game-high 32 points, Gilbert Christian was able to come out on top with four players scoring in double figures.
Gilbert Christian will face off against Arcadia at 4 p.m. Monday at Gila River Arena.
“At times it’s pick your poison with us,” Gilbert Christian coach Kurt Keener said. “We’ve got an inside attack and (guard Cameron) Satterwhite gives us that inside to outside look, and then we’ve got some other guys that can hit some shots.”
Satterwhite finished with a team-high 21 points, and guard Dontez Thomas had a big performance, recording 17 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and four steals.
“We just felt like we had to prove a point out there today,” Thomas said. “We were just playing hard. We knew we could do it coming in as underdogs.”
Gilbert Christian started to really pull ahead in the third quarter. It went on a 14-4 run in the final four minutes of the quarter. It led 62-52 going into the final period.
“We talked at halftime about coming out and being aggressive,” Keener said. “I thought our kids were really nervous at the beginning and it took as a good quarter to settle down. Once we settled down I told them, ‘You guys can play with these guys.'”
Shadow Mountain began to rally back as Randall scored 13 points in a span of 3:10. However, the closest Shadow Mountain could make it was a 70-65 game with five minutes left. Gilbert Christian outscored Shadow Mountain 15-9 to secure the win.
“I’ve been a coach for 37 years, I’ve seen crazy leads go, so I told my guys to just do what we’re doing and finish the game,” Keener said.