Alchesay boys top Holbrook to earn sectional bid
By Quentin Jodie
HOLBROOK, Ariz., Feb. 8, 2014
On Friday night, the Alchesay Falcons (23-7) clinched its berth to the sectional tournament by posting a huge 52-47 win over Holbrook.
The five-point victory improved the Falcons league record to 5-3 and placed them in a three-way tie for third place in the standings with Holbrook and Show Low.
With the win, the Falcons can better their case for a postseason berth to the Arizona Division III state boys basketball tournament while the Roadrunners (14-14) will have to wait and see if their record is good enough to make playoffs.
"This was a playoff game," Alchesay coach Kyle Goklish said. "We wanted to make sure we were going to state and to do that we had to win this game.
"It was huge game for both sides because it affected the standings and it affected the power points standing," he added.
On Wednesday the Falcons will play No. 2 seed Winslow in the first round of the sectional tournament while top-seeded Snowflake will tangle with No. 4 Show Low. The survivors from Wednesday's game will advance into championship game on Feb. 15. All sectional games will be played at Show Low High.
The game was back and forth, with Holbrook holding a slight edge at the break with a 23-22 lead.
Sophomore guard Abrian Dickson paced the Roadrunners in the first half with eight points with two treys while Alchesay senior Arnold Walker put in 10 of his game-high 14 points.
"Holbrook played a really good first half," said Walker, who was assessed a double-technical with Holbrook player Dontae Hollins in the second quarter.
"I was frustrated but I tried to not let that bother me," he said of his technical.
With 6:08 left in the third, the Roadrunners gained its largest lead of the night at 29-25 on a rare four-point play from senior guard Triston Zahne.
But in the final six minutes, the Falcons closed out the quarter on a 11-6 rally and held a 36-35 edge heading into the final stanza.
The Falcons then got the separation they needed with another run as they opened up the final quarter by scoring nine of the first 12 points with junior Rashaan Stover putting in five of his 13 points for a 45-38 cushion with 5:15 left to play.
Holbrook cut that margin down to four points on three separate occasion with the final one (50-46) coming on a putback from senior Dontae Hollins with 2:06 to go.
Prior to that two-point basket, both teams combined for five treys with the Roadrunners nailing three consecutive 3s with junior Marlin Martin and seniors Andon Hutch and Kyle Chee hitting one each.
But in the waning moments, the Roadrunners could not draw any closer as Alchesay did a much better job at closing out their shooters.
"We stepped up our defense in the final three minutes," Goklish said. "We finally got a good mixture of subbing in our offense and defense with every (dead ball) possession.
"I have to give credit to the other team but we made some stops when we needed to," he added.
Holbrook coach Raul Mendoza said they missed some key free throws down the stretch but the difference in the game was the play of Falcon point guard Brennan Alchesay.
"He was the one creating shots for the other guys on the team," Mendoza said of Alchesay. "We got too concerned with his penetration and that allowed the other guys to hit some threes. They hit some threes down the stretch.
"That how it goes sometimes and you know we didn't take very good shots at the end," he added.
Going into contest, Holbrook was holding down the No. 3 seed but after the completion of Friday's finale the Roadrunners dropped to No. 5 and will miss the sectional tournament based on tie-breaking procedures set by the Arizona Interscholastic Association.
Since each team went 1-1 against each other, the first rule of the tie-breaker (head-to-head competition) had to be negated so the win percentage in divisional play had to be used.
With a .706 winning percentage, the Falcons were awarded the No. 3 seed ahead of Show Low (.500) and Holbrook (.438).
And with some league members playing freedom games earlier in the week, Mendoza was confused on which games actually counted toward the league standings as Show Low dropped one of those freedom games on Thursday night to Payson, 58-38.
"We might not even make the state playoffs if we didn't make the sectional tournament," Mendoza said. "Other teams that are playing in the other sectional tournaments could push us down the power rankings."
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