Photo By Raymundo Frasquillo: Junior John Olmsted drew a double-team from senior Bryson Gregory (32) and freshman Xavier Hendrix early in the game, but still managed double-figure scoring. Morenci prevailed 62-46 over Arizona College Prep.
By Raymundo Frasquillo
MORENCI – The Patrick Hepper-coached No. 12 Morenci Wildcats (18-11) dispatched the No. 21 Chandler Arizona College Prep Knights (15-14) 62-46 during a play-in game at Wildcat Memorial Gymnasium on Feb. 14. The win sends the Wildcats to the round of 16 in the Prescott area Friday, Feb. 16.
Morenci faces No. 5 Scottsdale Christian on the Yavapai Community College campus at 7:30 p.m.
The other state meet first-round pairings at Prescott Valley Events Center are No. 1 Pima versus No. 16 Phoenix Arizona Lutheran at 10:30 a.m., No. 8 Many Farms vs. No. 9 Thatcher at 1:30 p.m., No. 6 San Carlos vs. No. 11 Scottsdale Prep at 6 p.m., and No. 3 Whiteriver Alchesay vs. No. 14 Phoenix Country Day School at 7:30 p.m.
Prescott High School will host No. 2 Phoenix Paradise Honors vs. No. 15 Glendale Joy Christian at 3 p.m.; Yavapai Community College hosts No. 4 Scottsdale Rancho Solano vs. No. 13 Sanders Valley at 1:30 p.m. and No. 7 Sedona Red Rock vs. No. 10 Gilbert Christian at 6 p.m.
The winners advance to the quarterfinals Saturday, Feb. 17. The semifinals are Friday, Feb. 23, and the championship is Saturday, Feb. 24.
The higher seeds went 5-3 during the play-in round. Eliminated were No. 22 Kingman Academy 63-50 by No. 9 Thatcher, No. 23 Phoenix Horizon Honors 65-43 by No. 10 Gilbert Christian, No. 22 Keams Canyon Hopi 71-40 by Scottsdale Prep, No. 20 Tucson Saint Augustine Catholic 80-61 by Sanders Valley, No. 14 Gilbert Leading Edge 58-55 by No. 19 Phoenix Arizona Lutheran, No. 15 Phoenix Christian 49-47 by Glendale Joy Christian, and No. 16 Trivium Prep 73-56 by No. 17 Phoenix Country Day School.
Morenci – 62, Arizona College Prep – 46
The Knights got within single digits, 54-46 with 4:57 left to play, but Morenci went on an 8-0 run to close out the game. Morenci controlled the opening tip, scored first and never trailed. Arizona College Prep tied the score at 19-19 with 1:14 elapsed in the second period but did not lead or tie again.
Freshman guard Diego Mendoza rebounded a missed junior guard Jordan Leonard 3-point attempt and dialed long distance to connect for the game’s initial score.
The Wildcats led by six, 19-13, following the opening period; by seven, 35-28, at halftime; and by 11, 50-39, heading into the final period.
Morenci totaled 22 field goals (seven 3-pointers) plus 11-16 free throws compared to 15 field goals (nine 3-pointers) plus 7-11 free throws by Arizona College Prep.
Junior John Olmsted tallied 14 points on six field goals plus 2-5 free throws, sophomore Dominik Waters 12 on four 3-pointers, and both Leonard and Mendoza 11 apiece, on three field goals (one 3-pointer) plus 4-5 free throws (Leonard) and 4-4 free throws (Mendoza). Junior Ryan Hayes added seven points, junior Matthew Silvester six, and senior Chris Leonard one.
For the Knights, sophomore Diego Navarro contributed 17 points on five 3-pointers plus 2-2 free throws and freshman Xavier Hendrix 12 on four 3-pointers. Freshman Lucas McDougall had nine points, senior Bryson Gregory four, and both freshman Nic Chang and sophomore Daniel Chukwu two each.