In order to appreciate how dominant Valley Christian was in its 2A state quarterfinal boys basketball victory over Pinon, consider this:
The Trojans were outscored 27-11 in the fourth quarter and still beat the Eagles, 91-59, Saturday night at Raymond S. Kellis High School.
It was as easy of a state tournament victory as a team could get as Valley Christian coach Greg Haagsma sat his starters for almost all of the second half. He didn’t mind giving them rest as the Trojans (32-1) have a semifinal matchup with Tucson Pusch Ridge Christian Monday night at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale.
Led by guard Nate Van Weelden and center Shane Johannsen, the Trojans dominated the Eagles from the very beginning in what was a quick-paced game. Both teams did have the quickness, but it was Valley Christian’s size that also gave it a big advantage.
“It’s nice to have some quickness and both teams have that, but it is better to be quick and big,’’ Haagsma said.
Looking ahead to the state tournament, Haagsma scheduled the Trojans to play in Flagstaff High School’s tournament this season to gain valuable experience against teams that run on offense and use full-court, pressure defense. Valley Christian saw that on Saturday from the Eagles and dominated them. In fact, Valley Christian’s only loss of the season came in that tournament when they lost to Flagstaff in the championship game by four points.
The Trojans led 31-8 after one quarter and 54-16 at the half. Even playing mostly reserves, Valley Christian dominated the third quarter and led 80-30 late in that third quarter.
Johannsen led Valley Christian with 15 points, Bryant Avent had 14 and Van Weelden 13.
Avent was the only one to score in the second half as he got some brief playing time in the third quarter.
Valley Christian is in the semifinals for the fifth time in the last six years and is going after its third state title in the last five years. The Trojans are defending state champions and have beaten Pusch Ridge twice this season.
Tom Kendell led Pinon with 18 points.