Now that a year has passed, Cody McDavis can admit how tough it was the first time he played in a big arena.
Pinnacle was the top seed in the 5A-II boys basketball tournament last season, but lost in the semifinals to Chaparral at Jobing.com Arena.
On Tuesday, the Pioneers looked right at home.
No. 2 seed Pinnacle took an early 8-5 lead and never relinquished it, cruising to a 64-46 victory over No. 23 Perry at Arizona State's Wells Fargo Arena.
The Pioneers move on to face No. 6 Cesar Chavez in the Division I semifinals at Jobing.com Arena on Thursday.
"I didn't want to read into (the big arena factor) too much, but it is something different," McDavis said. "It's the atmosphere. There's so many more fans. It's just a lot to take in."
Pinnacle missed several jump shots in the first quarter last year, but Chris Klima and Kevin Bowman each hit early 3-pointers in this one to set the tone.
McDavis led the way with 22 points. Drew Bender had 14 points and six assists while Dorian Pickens added 10 points and nine rebounds.
The Pioneers have won 14 straight games and look to be on a crash course to meet top seed Corona del Sol in the championship game on Saturday.
"We're going to go back to practice and keep doing the same things we've been doing," Pinnacle coach Charlie Wilde said. "We're not going to change a thing."
Perry barely made the playoffs, but defeated North in the first-round and rallied from a 16-point fourth quarter deficit to beat No. 7 Basha in the second round.
Lucas O'Brien had 12 points and six rebounds for the Pumas.
"I'm proud of my guys," Perry coach Mark Nold said. "To get here in their fourth year of varsity, play in Wells Fargo, that's a step in our program we needed to take. I feel really bad for my kids right now, but they've set the bar at our school."
Although Pinnacle held a double-digit lead throughout the second half, it was wary of Perry staging another late rally.
"We took a timeout and coach told us that we couldn't make the same mistakes Basha did," McDavis said. "You can't take any team lightly at this time of year."