IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Scottsdale Christian learned from last year’s state tournament loss to Tuba City and came into Tuesday’s Division III first-round game against another small but pressing, pesky Navajo reservation team, Pinon. Coach Bob Fredericks had his bigger players practicing 5 on 7 with the opposing 7 pressing and using a dead ball. Precision passes, patience and high-percentage shots helped Scottsdale Christian advance with a 69-56 victory before an overflow crowd at SCA.
Pinon (12-12) brought a big following from the Navajo Nation that helped pack the gymnasium before tipoff. And for a half, as each Pinon shot raised the noise level to jet-engine-like decibels, Pinon hung with 11-seed Scottsdale Christian (22-8). Then, freshman Josh Phillips drained a couple of 3-pointers to quiet Pinon’s half of the gym. Junior forward Sam Ortega nailed a 3 and scored inside, and Scottsdale Christian had a 53-43 lead after three quarters.
“We worked the press in practice with a dead ball against seven guys who could foul,” Fredericks said. “The older guys talked to the younger guys about not overlooking the first round. But we knew they were a good team. They looked like a carbon copy of last year’s Tuba City team and they shot it really well early. We withstood that and we got good play from our bench, and Brad (Swetonic) really played well inside in the second half.”
Swetonic, a 6-foot-6 junior forward/center, had nine of his 15 points in the second half.
Scottsdale Christian advances to Friday’s second round in Tucson against No.6 Palo Verde at Amphitheater.
Valley Christian senior guard Jack Campbell goes to the hoop during the second round of the Division III boys state tournament at Camelback High School on February 20, 2015.
No.14 and host Whiteriver Alchesay beat No.19 Fort Defiance in transition and easily won 54-40 in a first-round game. “We couldn’t get down on transition and that is what hurt us and we couldn’t stop the penetration,” Window Rock coach Raul Mendoza said. “Their guards were a lot quicker than our guards. They beat us downcourt. Their quickness hurt us a lot.”
Alchesay coach Kyle Goklish played for Mendoza in the late 1990s at Alchesay.
“They play well at home and we weren’t ready to play them,” Mendoza said. “We just didn’t get the job done.”
No.9 Holbrook needed overtime to put away No.24 seed Kayenta Monument Valley 63-57, as AB Dickson made five 3-pointers and Marlin Martin sank clutch free throws in OT. Holbrook advances against defending state champion Chandler Valley Christian on Friday at 5 p.m. at Phoenix Camelback High.
No.16 Thatcher, trailing 18-5 after a quarter and 30-22 at the half, rallied to defeat No. 17 Bisbee 50-44. Thatcher next plays No.1 Lakeside Blue Ridge on Friday at 7 p.m. at Payson. Junior Jared Jorgenson led Thatcher with 15 points.
Austin Keating had 27 points to lead host and No.12-seed Fountain Hills to an 80-50 rout. Fountain Hills advances to play No.5 Goodyear Estrella Foothills on Friday at 7 p.m. at Camelback. Estrella Foothills has won its past 12 games.
Show Low was hit Monday afternoon that it would be without its top player, guard Sean Potter, for the state tournament after he played in a city league game last week, making him ineligible under Arizona Interscholastic Association bylaws. That didn’t stop Show Low from winning its first-round game. It handed No.20 Kingman Academy a 54-39 loss at Show Low, which now travels to take on No.4 San Tan Valley Combs (26-4), which has a 24-game winning streak.