A lot of things had to go right for Queen Creek to win Saturday's state tournament basketball game at Raymond Kellis.
A lot of things did go right for the Bulldogs in the second-round matchup of the Division II boys tournament. At least it went right for a quarter. That's when the second-seeded Cougars took over and eventually downed the upstart Bulldogs, 72-53.
Kellis (25-2) moves on to the quarterfinals where it will play either Paradise Valley Wednesday at Wells Fargo Arena. Queen Creek (21-6) had its season come to an end.
Queen Creek acted like it wanted to keep playing early in the game and with 4:30 left in the second quarter the Bulldogs, after back-to-back 3-pointers by Carter Wilson, trailed by just 24-22.
"They hit some big, difficult shots early in the game," Kellis coach Curtis Green said. "We made a couple of defensive adjustments and did a better job of contesting shots."
Using the pick-and-roll with forward Zach Auguste, Queen Creek got loose for a couple of open shots from the perimeter and then found Auguste rolling to the basket for some easy shots. The 6-foot-4 inch forward played one of his top games of the season with 19 points and 17 rebounds and he did it against one of the top post players in Arizona in Kellis' 6-10 Kenny Martin. Matt Jones added 10 points for Queen Creek.
"He's played his best basketball at the end of the regular season and in the sectional tournaments," Queen Creek coach Troy Gibson said.
Leading by just two points, Martin and his teammates took over late in the second quarter. They finished the first half on a 13-0 scoring run to take a 37-22 halftime lead. It was Martin and guard Desmond Ross doing most of the damage.
Martin finished the game with 21 points, 17 rebounds and six blocked shots and Ross had 24 points. But it was the Kellis defense that forced several Queen Creek turnovers and led to easy transition baskets.
"Our game is playing aggressive and creating turnovers," Green said. "We're pretty athletic and can extend our defense especially with the big guy down there."
"We started to struggle shooting the basketball and that put a lot of pressure on our defense," Gibson said.
Kellis doubled up Queen Creek in the third quarter outscoring the Bulldogs 18-9 to take a 55-31 lead into the fourth quarter.