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AIA365 Staff | Students

Don Ketchum

Staff Writer,

Sierra Linda boys continue to build basketball contender

Dec 5, 2012

Phoenix Sierra Linda got a strong taste of what playoff basketball is like last season, reaching the Division II quarterfinals before losing to Tucson Amphitheater.

The young school from the southwest Valley is making another bid in 2012-13.

“It is a journey,’’ said coach Ramon Marks.

For one game, at least, the Bulldogs were able to operate on cruise control, defeating Glendale Cactus 63-30 in Wednesday’s (Dec. 5) first round of the Majerle’s Challenge at Goodyear Desert Edge.

“We are here to compete for a state championship,’’ Marks said. “We take every game seriously. We want to do it by outworking other teams, doing all the little things right.’’

Cactus (1-7) made a game of it for the first four minutes of the contest. Then Sierra Linda (7-1) went on a 13-0 run to close out the first quarter for a 22-7 lead.

Sierra Linda did it with a pressure defense that suffocated the Cactus five.

Sierra Linda also was on target from long range, hitting four 3-pointers in the first quarter and three more in the second quarter. The Bulldogs had eight for the game.

“We like to use our press, create turnovers and build the tempo,’’ Marks said.

Playing in early season tournaments allows coaches to use the full roster as much as possible.

In Sierra Linda’s case, that is good because Marks has four new players up from last season’s junior-varsity team and two transfers.

“They can watch the guys who were here last year, see how it’s done, then go out and try to do the same thing,’’ Marks said.

Jonathan Matthews led the way for the Bulldogs with 16 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Edgar Sarmiento had 15 points, including four from beyond the arc. And Damien Mendoza worked the inside, scoring 11 points and rebounding effectively.

The tournament continues Thursday (Dec. 6) with four games at Desert Edge and four at Buckeye Verrado.  Semifinals are Friday (Dec. 7) and the championship game is at 8 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 8) at Verrado.