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Don KetchumStaff Writer, AIA365.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Salpointe boys hold on late, stop No. 3 seed Sierra LindaFeb 20, 2013
It might be a surprise to some that Tucson Salpointe Catholic’s boys have reached the Division II basketball semifinals, but not to the Lancers themselves.
“Southern Arizona has been underrated this season, but we’re here to represent,’’ said Salpointe coach Brian Holstrom.
The sixth-seeded Lancers represented their area in admirable fashion on Wednesday (Feb. 20), sending third-seeded Phoenix Sierra Linda home early with a 60-55 quarterfinal victory at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale.
Salpointe (22-10) will face either seventh-seeded Nogales or No. 18 Avondale Agua Fria in a semifinal game on Thursday (Feb. 21) at Jobing.com. Sierra Linda finished 26-3. Salpointe played Nogales twice during the regular season, each team winning once.
“They (Sierra Linda) have a very good team. They had that (good record) for a reason,’’ Holstrom said.
“We executed what we wanted. We had the right game plan to break their zone press.’’
Ryan Callaghan, a 6-foot-7 junior, had six points in the third quarter, allowing Salpointe to hold a 41-38 advantage entering the fourth.
As the game neared the final minute, he broke free for a jam to give the Lancers a 54-51 lead. After Sierra Linda’s Edgar Sarmiento nailed a 3-pointer to tie it, Callaghan found himself in the clear again for an easy basket to give Salpointe a 56-54 lead.
Sarmiento hit one of two free throws with 39.8 seconds to cut the lead to 56-55, but that was it for Sierra Linda.
Daniel Arzouman hit two free throws for the Lancers with 36.8 seconds left and Hunter Lowry converted two more at 20.8 to give the team its winning margin.
Salpointe had four men in double figures. Callaghan and Lowry scored 15 each, Jaylyn Juan had 11 and Cameron Denson had 10.
Jonathan Matthews, Sierra Linda’s 5-foot-8 senior guard, had a fine all-around finale. He scored 25 points, including 19 in the second half to help keep his team in the game. Included were three 3-pointers. Sarmiento had 13 points and Damien Mendoza had 11.