Chantel Osahor was glad changing her shot didn't work out, and couldn't take full credit for her passing skills.
But she knew one thing: This is about as good as her St. Mary's girls basketball teammates have played all season.
The rampage rolls on as the undefeated and No. 3-seed Knights dominated the final three quarters of play in a 61-28 victory over No. 7 Dobson to advance to the Division I girls basketball state title game on Saturday afternoon at Jobing.com Arena.
It might say No. 3 in the state tournament seeding, but the defending-champion Knights are undefeated this season and ranked No. 1 nationally according to several national publications).
"Right now we are, and it's a good time to do this," Osahor said of her and her teammates' play of late.
Previously-surging Dobson - which beat St. Mary's in overtime two years ago to win the 5A-I state championship - felt good about its chances late this week, and even after the first quarter. The Mustangs handled St. Mary's constant pressure with ball movement, rebounded and defended the Knights' balanced attack.
It was 15-13 in favor of Dobson after the first quarter, and Knights coach Curtis Ekmark mentioned having a flashback to the 2010 title game.
But the Mustangs scored one point in the second quarter and five points in the third quarter. It was 34-20 at halftime and 51-21 after three quarters.
Dobson shot 5-for-31 in the final three quarters of play. If a basket is the size of a beach ball when a team is making shots, "the basket shrunk to the size of a straw," said Dobson coach Tyler Dumas.
"(St. Mary's) ramped it up a bit and got their hands on some balls," he said. "They're Division I (college) athletes playing high school basketball. "...We had chances but couldn't make shots or layups, and free throws might have been worse."
Meanwhile, Osahor as the focal point of St. Mary's offense worked wonders in the middle two quarters. Her size, set-shot and especially passing ability broke down Dobson's pesky defense. She hit teammates on the opposite side of the floor with ease, and when they back-door cut to the basket.
She had 10 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two blocks. Shilpa Tummala led the Knights' balance with 16 points, while Cortnee Walton and Courtney Ekmark each scored 12 despite a rough shooting day for Ekmark. .
The Knights made 22 of 25 free throws. Dobson made 7 of 15.
Katherine Hamilton led Dobson with eight points and Dyesha Stanley scored all six of her points during that first-quarter surge.
The talk afterward, however, was the Knights defensive uptick in the middle two quarters. It's not what their next opponent wants to hear.
"We're just going on the court and play the best we can and the score takes care of itself," Osahor said. "If we do that (defensively) the offense will take care of itself."
Mark Heller is the East Valley Tribune sports editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (480) 898-6576.