A quick start Friday at Glendale Arena put Seton Catholic into the 3A state boys basketball title game for the second time in three years.
Seton hit five 3-pointers in the first quarter and built a 15-point lead in the first half on its way to a 69-53 win over Chinle to advance to tonight’s championship game against defending state champion Fountain Hills at 8 p.m. at Glendale Arena.
“It’s such a great feeling,” Seton leading scorer Mike Harty said. “This is my third time in the final four. Got to state my sophomore year, lost it, hopefully the result will be different this time.”
Harty scored 24 points for the Sentinels (28-3), whose lone appearance in the 3A title game came two years ago in a loss to Rio Rico.
“I was feeling good, I had a great week of practice,” Harty said. “I was pumped for this game and I came out, I was hitting everything.”
Harty hit three of his six 3-pointers in the first eight minutes.
Brandon Butler hit two more on his way to 21 points for the Sentinels.
Donovan Begay led the Wildcats (14-18) with 23 points.
“We get out on quick starts, usually,” Seton Catholic coach Hosea Graham said.
“Because we are fresh and our defense is tough. We get right out at them. We are more patient when we have the energy and are not tired. So the quick start always helps us.”
Graham said his team shot 64 percent from the field in the first half, building a 37-22 lead.
Begay hit back-to-back jumpers to cut the lead to 49-41 with 1:57 left in the third quarter but the Wildcats got no closer.