This game had everything that a tournament game should have. A
heated rivalry fueled by revenge, a standing room only crowd of more than
3500 fans, a chance to advance to the state's elite eight, and last but
not least, the Iceman. Number 4 seeded Brophy College Prep played host
to number 12 seeded St. Mary's in front of a standing, and I mean
standing, room only crowd last night for hopes to keep a bid for the state
title alive. The Broncos of Brophy used an extremely balanced
attack to keep their hopes alive coming away with a 61-48
With the Broncos dropping the last two meetings, the key to tonight's victory was shutting down freshman phenom Jerryd Bayless (only finished with 3 pts.) and keeping the rest of the St. Mary team off balance. The game plan worked to perfection.
The Broncos could have not come out hotter and the Knights could have not come out any colder. Brophy jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead early in the first sparked by three quick turnovers aided by the quickness of senior guard Kevin Schneider. Schneider who finished with 15 pts. dumped in a quick 6 in the first to give Brophy a lead that they would never relinquish. Looking a bit stunned (dazed and confused), the Knights seemed to completely abandon whatever game plan they had and hit the panic button early on. The quarter ended with Brophy on top 18-9.
While going 0 for 5 from beyond the arch in the first, the Knights needed someone to step up and get a hot hand. Junior Alex Farrer (12 pts.) hit a pair of quick threes to give the Knights a glimmer of hope but the turnovers (20 in all) just kept on coming and the Knights never came within 5 points of the lead. The rest of the game continued like this for St. Mary's, rarely posting up anyone inside, rarely using their quickness to drive inside, and completely relying on outside jumpers that just weren't falling.
Brophy, on the other hand, played their game. Using a nice transition attack, quick defense, and physical play inside, the Mustangs dominated every aspect of this contest. If I had a game ball to give out, it would easily go out to senior Jake Lewis who played as tough as one could play. He made his presence felt the entire game by dominating the boards and positioning himself inside for key buckets. It seemed that whenever St.Mary's would muscle up a little spark, he was there to stamp it out. The crowd favorite tonight, Lewis finished with 15 pts. and 10+ rebounds.
Thanasi Panagiotakopoulos had another nice performance doing what he does best, running the floor and draining his customary threes. I like this kid and his tenacious play. At times he may seem a bit out of control but that's just his style. When St. Mary's finally decide to press with 3 minutes left in the game, it was "Tenacious Thanasi" who broke it time after time. This kid is a "four star" floor general. "T" finished also with 15pts. and 6 assists.
Next on the docket for Brophy is Dobson High on Saturday night at Shadow Mountain. If they can continue this style of play, it could be a Brophy vs. Mesa match up on March 2 at Veterans Memorial for a shot at the state title. This is basketball at it's best!!!