Ray Brewer and Case Keefer look over the high school basketball playoff picture, and debate whether any major upsets will occur and which teams would be most likely to pull them off.
The Faith Lutheran High basketball team is peaking at the right time.
The Northwest League champion Crusaders limited visiting Sierra Vista to 24 second-half points Tuesday in the Sunset Regional quarterfinals and had four players reach double figures in points on the way to a 69-58 victory.
“We’ve played our best basketball in the past two weeks,” Faith Lutheran coach Bret Walter said.
The Crusaders trailed by two points at halftime but held Sierra Vista to just six points in the final eight minutes. Sierra Vista’s Maka Ellis, one of the city’s best players, battled foul trouble in the first half and got injured late in finishing with just eight points.
“It was pretty even until the fourth quarter,” Walter said. “We just had to keep grinding and keep getting stops.”
Dalton Kincaid scored 19 points to lead Faith Lutheran, Elijah Kothe finished with 18 and Jaylen Fox contributed 12. Brevin Walter had 11 points for Faith Lutheran, which advances to Thursday’s Sunset semifinals against Clark at Legacy High.
“We are going to defend. They have some great athletes,” coach Walter said of Clark.
The other semifinal game will feature defending state champion Bishop Gorman against Desert Oasis, which edged host Arbor View 77-76 tonight in the quarterfinals.
“I don’t think at any point in the game there was a five-point lead by either team,” Desert Oasis coach Joseph Bedowitz said.
Kamari Burnside and Nate Van each had more than 20 points for Desert Oasis, and Jacob Hesse — the area’s leading scorer — finished with 19.
“He is our leading scorer most of the time,” Bedowitz said of Hesse. “But the best thing about this team is we aren’t a one-person team.”
Desert Oasis will need all of those weapons against Gorman, who last week beat the Diamondbacks 92-69.
“They trap Jake every time he touches the ball,” Bedowitz said.
In the playoffs, remember, anything can happen.
Clark, which is expected to compete for a state championship, had to outscore Centennial 22-9 in the fourth quarter tonight for a 66-60 win. Despite opening the game on a 13-2 scoring run, Clark trailed by 10 points in the third quarter.
“Hopefully this is a wake-up call for us,” Clark coach Chad Beeten said. “After that first quarter we got a little overconfident. We didn’t defend like we are capable of.”
Jalen Hill scored 22 points to lead Clark, and Antown Jackson had 12 points and eight rebounds.