Pinnacle knocks off surging Desert Mtn. to win Section III boys tournament - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Pinnacle knocks off surging Desert Mtn. to win Section III boys tournament

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Posted: Saturday, February 11, 2012 11:36 pm | Updated: 12:46 am, Sun Feb 12, 2012.

A night after blowing out Desert Vista - the last team to beat Pinnacle - the Pioneers put on a similar show in winning the Division I, Section III championship game by beating Desert Mountain, 76-53.

The Pioneers are the No. 2 seed and earned a first-round bye in the Div. I boys state tournament. The Pioneers will host the Hamilton-Dobson winner next Saturday in the second round.

No. 16 Desert Mountain will host No. 17 Anthem Boulder Creek in the first round on Thursday night.

With two vociferous student sections serving as a backdrop (at least one fan was escorted out), the Pioneers made one side of the gym quiet most of the second half.

A flurry of alley-oops, three point jumpers (including two on step-backs), slick transition sequences and even a floating, mid-air, right-hand-to-left-hand layup from guard Kevin Bowman, sent some Pioneers fans into convulsions of excitement.

"Well, I mean, they are a really good team," Wolves coach Todd Fazio said. "They have five guys capable of scoring. It comes down to picking your poison."

The Pioneers most potent man was 6-foot 8-inch Cody McDavis. He finally shook the rust off after a severe ankle sprain early in the season left him hobbled for weeks.

Of McDavis' 24 points, six were flashy, coming off three seemingly designed alley-oops plays, pinpoint passes from either Drew Bender or Dorian Pickens from beyond the arc or the opposite wing of McDavis.

But most of McDavis' scoring was the result of footwork and a deft touch from the outside. He connected on two turnaround baseline jumpers early, and it allowed him to find a groove with his retro game, connecting on 16- and 18-foot jumpers with an uncontestable high-release.

"He's worked hard on that," Wilde said. "He's a tough kid, coming back from injury a week earlier than we thought."

The Wolves sent double teams towards McDavis, but "too late" in the game, according to Fazio. McDavis' range helped spread the floor for penetration from the Pioneers' guards and wings.

On two occasions he caught the ball just outside the three-point line, only to hesitate and step his feet just inside the arc for the jumper.

"I don't want to push it too much," McDavis said. "Everyone on the team has a role and needs to stay within it."

Given its talent level, with Pickens, Bender and Bowman - the trio combined for 29 points Saturday - equally capable of driving past a defender and swooping in short-range shots or hitting treys, might have been superfluous to the outcome.

But it may have exemplified the Pioneers' focus level heading into the state tournament.

"It was by far one of the best games we've had," McDavis said. "We are playing our best right now. "

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[Stats Courtesy of MaxPreps]