Should Santa Rita High School coach Jim Ferguson be concerned when his team faces Amphi for a fourth time this season in Wednesday’s Class 4A Division II semifinal in Glendale?
After an overtime loss to Amphi in early January, Santa Rita answered with two wins over the Panthers, including in the 4A Gila Region championship game Feb. 14.
“It’s going to be hard to beat them no matter,” said Ferguson. “The fact that they beat us the one time gets our attention. If you’ve beaten a team two straight times, it makes it a little more difficult but we’ll be ready.”
Amphi knows that if it can slow the run-and-gun Eagles, it has a chance at advancing to next week’s state championship.
“If we can take care of the ball on offense and slow them down in transition, we should be fine,” Amphi coach Ben Hurley said.
Turnovers have hurt Amphi, so ball control will be a key. Ferguson said Santa Rita’s key is concentration.
“As long as we come ready to play and stay focused, we have the ability and talent to beat any team in the state,” said Ferguson. “When we get hurt is when we come unprepared mentally. In our first two state (playoff) games, we’ve really been focused. I am pretty happy with those two games.”
Santa Rita junior guard Terrell Stoglin, looking to lead Santa Rita to a 4A-II state championship game for the third straight season, has averaged more than 20 points per game this season against Amphi.
Wednesday’s game tips off at 7 p.m. in Glendale’s Jobing.com Arena. The winner plays in the state championship March 3 in Glendale.
For more on high school sports, check out the Grammer School sports blog.
STATE BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS
Games at 7 p.m. unless noted:
4A-I boys semifinal: No. 3 Amphi vs. No. 2 Santa Rita (at Glendale’s Jobing.com Arena)
5A-I girls first round: No. 14 Sierra Vista Buena at No. 3 Mesa Mountain View; No. 11 Chandler Basha at No. 6 Tucson High
5A-II girls first round: No. 11 Rincon/University at No. 6 Kingman; No. 14 Ironwood Ridge at No. 3 Surprise Valley Vista
4A-I girls semifinal: No. 4 Phoenix Shadow Mountain vs. No. 1 Canyon del Oro (4:15 p.m. at Glendale’s Jobing.com Arena)
4A-I boys semifinal: No. 5 Catalina Foothills vs. No. 1 Phoenix Sunnyslope (7:45 p.m. at Glendale’s Jobing.com Arena)
5A-I boys first round: No. 11 Phoenix Brophy at No. 6 Buena
5A-II boys first round: No. 16 Scottsdale Horizon at No. 1 Ironwood Ridge; No. 12 Phoenix South Mountain at No. 5 Rincon/University