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Don KetchumStaff Writer, AIA365.com email@example.com
PV boys return hoops favor against Shadow MountainDec 20, 2012
Paul Watson said that Phoenix Paradise Valley basketball coach Mark MacGowan likes his players to shoot around 100 free throws before every practice.
“He wants them to be second nature,’’ Watson said.
Watson made that approach pay off on Thursday night (Dec. 20), making six of six attempts in the final 2:21 to help the Trojans hold off visiting rival Phoenix Shadow Mountain 48-44.
Paradise Valley, listed third in the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s first power rankings of the season in Division II, made up for a 53-47 setback at Shadow Mountain on Dec. 6 and jumped to 9-2. Shadow Mountain, No. 1 in the power rankings, slipped to 16-2.
As expected, the game was close throughout in the nearly full gym with the Paradise Valley players and most of their followers dressed in red and white, like candy canes.
After a 21-21 tie at halftime, Shadow Mountain jumped to a 30-23 lead to begin the third quarter, thanks to a pair of 3-pointers by Keegan Hansen and another by Edin Kozlica.
Kozlica’s trey prompted MacGowan to call a timeout with 4:36 left in the third.
“He (MacGowan) just told us to relax and not panic, to stay together, that we were still in the game,’’ Watson said. “We already knew that, but it was still good to hear.’’
Things got a bit testy a few minutes later when Watson came in contact with Shadow Mountain freshman guard Michael Bibby, with Bibby falling to the floor in front of the Shadow Mountain bench. Carlos Johnson, also a freshman, came to Bibby’s rescue and went nose to nose with Watson. But there was no pushing or shoving and no punches were thrown, and the officials quickly restored order.
In the fourth quarter, PV’s Ryan Finley came up with a couple of big defensive plays. Known for trying to avoid interceptions as the Trojans’ football quarterback, he stepped in to pick off a few Shadow Mountain passes and set up Watson to go to the line.
Finley and Watson will play at major colleges next season, Finley as a quarterback at Boise State and Watson for Fresno State’s basketball team.
“Those were big plays,’’ MacGowan said. “Ryan does whatever we need him to do out there. He played point guard as a sophomore and has played the post.
“Tonight, we found ways to make baskets and get rebounds when we needed them in the second half.’’
Finley said the Trojans executed better than the first time they played against Shadow Mountain.
“We played a lot better as a team. Our defense kind of set up our offense,’’ Finley said.
Watson led PV with 15 points, while Finley and Anthony Walker chipped in with 10 each.
Hansen led Shadow Mountain with 14 points and Johnson had 9.