It took almost three quarters for Holland Woods to find his shot.
But once he did, it was all over for Scottsdale Chaparral.
The Glendale Apollo senior guard scored 19 of his 22 points in the last 10:40 to help advance the Hawks into the 5A Conference boys basketball championship game with a 76-62 victory Wednesday night at Grand Canyon University Arena.
Woods’ first field goal came with 2 minutes, 40 seconds left in the third quarter, a hard drive on which he was fouled. His three-point play gave Apollo its first lead, 39-38 and was a pivotal part of a 19-5 run in the last 5:31 of the period. Woods scored 14 of his points from the free-throw line, and added nine assists.
Apollo (26-3) now will see if it can make it three wins in a row against Phoenix Sunnyslope, in the 7 p.m. Monday state final at GCU Arena.
Apollo won two close regular-season meetings, including a triple-overtime classic in which Woods had 41 points.
“We really responded to adversity tonight,” said senior guard Dre Marin, who scored 29 points, making 10 of 11 free throws and 9 of 18 field goals. “They got us down early. But the thing about this team, we have tremendous confidence. We’re never out until that final buzzer. This whole tournament, not just this game, we keep fighting until the end.”
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Apollo made its move after Chaparral guard Colten Kresl picked up his fourth foul with 6:11 left in the third quarter. Chaparral (22-7) was leading 34-28 at the time with Kresl (16 points) scoring the first two baskets of the quarter.
Kresl went to the bench. A couple of minutes later, fellow guard JT. Thoman went to the bench with three fouls.
Apollo closed the last 5:31 of the quarter with a 19-5 run.
“We picked up our defensive intensity a little bit,” coach Jacob Marin said. “We made them play a little out of rhythm. When Colten picked up his fourth foul, that completely took them out of rhythm and we took advantage of it.”
Chaparral (22-7) did a great job limiting Woods to any good looks in the first half. Woods, who came into the game averaging 27 points, scored all three of his first-half points from the free-throw line. He was 0 for 6 from the field, missing the only 3-pointer he attempted.
“I was so proud of Holland,” Jacob Marin said. “A younger Holland would have forced it. He never forced it. He made baskets when he needed to make baskets, and those two kick outs (assisting teammates) for 3s were huge.”
Woods caused Kresl to foul out with 3:05 left with a quick move and Chaparral, trailing by 12, was done.
Dre Marin kept Apollo in the game, scoring seven straight points to cut it to 26-25 late in the first half. But Chaparral stymied that rally with the last four points of the half, taking control at 30-26.
Apollo, one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the state, made just 2 of 10 from the arc in the half.
“Early on, Dre’s legs were a little wobbly, because he was working so hard trying to guard Colten,” Jacob Marin said. “Once he settled into the game, he was fine.”
Phoenix Sunnyslope 69, Peoria Liberty 38
A bench player who hardly left his seat last season, guard Andrew Greb became a go-to guy Wednesday, making all four of his 3-point tries and finishing with 16 points for Sunnyslope (26-4), which is in the state final for the second year in a row.
Last year, Sunnyslope lost a close final to Mesa in Division I, the highest division.
“I didn’t get a chance to play in the state game last year, so I wanted to have a good game,” Greb said.
Sunnyslope (26-4) doesn’t have a senior on the roster.
“I don’t know if that’s good thing or a bad thing,” coach Ray Portela said.
The Vikings looked like they’ve been on big stages, making 10 of 14 3-pointers and shooting 59.6 percent from the field for the game.
Liberty (21-8), which won its first three state tournament games in its history during its playoff run, had knocked off No. 2 Phoenix Arcadia. But Sunnyslope dominated from the start with post player Chris Orozco getting loose inside for easy baskets. Orozco had 18 points, nine rebounds and three blocks.
Forward Kyle Fischer had 11 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and two blocks, as Sunnyslope shredded Liberty’s 1-2-2 zone and held the Lions to just 29 percent shooting.