Defending 5A-II champions start slow then pull away to defeat Scottsdale Horizon
Chad Carter scored 29 points to lead Ironwood Ridge High School to a 72-51 win over Scottsdale Horizon in Thursday’s opening round of the Class 5A Division II boys basketball playoffs.
“We started off slow in the first half but we knew we had to come out with more intensity in the second half and that’s what we did,” Carter said.
Ironwood Ridge, the tournament’s No. 1 seed and defending 5A-II state champion, struggled early but started the second quarter with a 9-2 run and took the lead for good when Tyler D’Amore hit a 3-pointer for a 22-19 advantage.
“We struggled out of the gate and this is always the hard one to play, your very first game in the state tournament,” Ironwood Ridge coach Brian Peabody said.
Senior Brandon Duliakas added 13 points for the Nighthawks.
Ironwood Ridge (25-4) advances to Saturday’s 5A-II quarterfinals. It will host No. 8 Yuma High.
“We’re definitely trying to get the repeat, there’s no doubt about that,” Peabody said. “One down, three to go, but every game is hard. Everybody in the state tournament is there for a reason. They can play.”
No. 12 Phoenix South Mountain 81, No. 5 Rincon/University 65: At Rincon, despite having two players post double-doubles, the Rangers couldn’t hold on to a nine point lead and fell in the opening round of the 5A-II state tournament.
Visiting Phoenix South Mountain used its quickness to pull off the upset and advance to Saturday’s quarterfinals.
“It feels bad to go out like this,” said senior Travis Timmons, who had 16 points, seven rebounds and eight assists. “We knew going into the game that they push it a lot and we just couldn’t get back (on defense) enough. They outplayed us.”
Jose Ibarra (16 points, 12 rebounds) scored six straight in the second quarter to give Rincon a 25-16 lead. Gilbert Tafoya (14 points, 12 rebounds) was Rincon’s second player with a double-double.
“I thought early in the game we did a good job,” Rangers coach Rich Utter said. “Then we missed some free throws and we turned it over five straight times for easy scores.”
Rincon (22-9) tied it at 38 pulled with four minutes left in the third quarter, but it never got closer than that. South Mountain (14-14) was led by Shakir Preston’s 15 points.
Class 5A Division I
No. 6 Sierra Vista Buena 61, No. 11 Phoenix Brophy 52: At Buena, Anthony Miller scored 14 points and Derek Lane added 13 as the Colts advance to Saturday’s 5A-I quarterfinals at No. 3 Mesa Mountain View.
Class 4A Division I
No. 1 Phoenix Sunnyslope 69, No. 5 Catalina Foothills 56: At Glendale’s Jobing.com Arena, Catalina Foothills’ Michael Tringali scored four straight points early in the fourth quarter, capping a 17-point rally to tie the game at 45.
A Sunnyslope timeout and three Foothills turnovers later, and the Falcons found themselves down by 10 and watched as the top seed in the 4A-I tournament advanced to next week’s state championship game.
Led by 17 points from Connor Bailey, including four 3-pointers, and 11 from Tringali off the bench, Foothills made a game of it after trailing by as many as 14 points in the third quarter.
“This was probably our worst shooting game in two months,” Foothills coach Michael Steward said.
Sunnyslope was led by 30 points from Royce Woolridge, one of Arizona’s best players.
“We knew he was going to be good,” Steward said. “We knew he was going to be tough to guard, and we told our guys he was going to knock down shots. What hurt was when he missed, they got the offensive rebounds.”
Foothills, which lost to Sunnyslope in the 2001 4A semifinals, closed the third quarter on a 17-3 run. But Sunnyslope’s rebounding and 22 for 25 free throw shooting took the victory out of reach for Foothills.
Catalina Foothills finishes with a 24-7 record.
Sunnyslope will play No. 2 Avondale Agua Fria in Tuesday’s 4A-I championship game in Glendale.
FOUR TEAMS REMAIN
Four southern Arizona high school basketball teams remain in the hunt for 4A or 5A state titles.
4A-I championship: No. 1 Canyon del Oro vs. No. 2 Tempe McClintock (6 p.m. Tuesday, Glendale’s Jobing.com Arena)
5A-I quarterfinals: No. 6 Sierra Vista Buena at No. 3 Mesa Mountain View (7 p.m. Saturday)
5A-II quarterfinals: No. 8 Yuma at No. 1 Ironwood Ridge (7 p.m. Saturday)
4A-II championship: No. 2 Santa Rita vs. No. 1 Phoenix Greenway (4 p.m. Tuesday, Glendale’s Jobing.com Arena)
By Ash Friederich, Christopher Veck, Rodney Haas