For more than three quarters 15th-seeded Marcos de Niza played with No. 2 Laveen Cesar Chavez.
The next five plus minutes proved to be disastrous, however, as Marcos went scoreless and the Champions pulled away for a 70-63 win in the second round of the Division I boys state tournament on Saturday night.
When Tyler Lazenby hit a three-pointer with 5:59 left in the fourth quarter to give Marcos a 52-48 lead, it looked like an upset could be brewing. Unfortunately for the Padres, they could not buy a basket from that point onward. Cesar Chavez took advantage, going on an 11-0 run over the next 4:52 to take a 59-52 lead and control of the game.
Devin White fouled out at the 4:02 mark and his absence hurt Marcos. White was the Padres’ playmaker and the main offensive catalyst for most of the night. Without him, Marcos struggled to score and looked lost at times offensively.
“Devin fouling out changed the game,” Padres coach David Stark said. “The kids battled hard. It was a great game. Free throws hurt tonight.”
Cesar Chavez star Pablo Rivas took over from that point, scoring six of the 11 points during the 11-0 run. Rivas led the Champions with 25 points.
“We did a pretty good job defending him for the most part,” Stark said. “We’re a pretty small team overall and the guys that defended him tried to keep him outside and did a good job. He’s a good player. They’re a good team.”
Marcos finally scored again with 1:07 left in the game when Stefan Tellis nailed a three to close the gap to 59-55. It became a free throw battle from that point and Cesar Chavez converted 11 of 14 free throws in the final 90 seconds. Will Holt hit 10 of 12 himself and finished with 25 points.
Marcos had one final chance when Jesse Salazar missed his second free throw with 20 seconds left trailing by only three points. Cesar Chavez was able to grab the offensive rebound, however, and Holt promptly made two free throws to put the game out of reach.
Cesar Chavez 70, Marcos de Niza 63
Marcos de Niza 14 12 20 17 - 63
Cesar Chavez 13 13 20 24 - 70
Cesar Chavez: Holt 25, Rivas 25, Salazar 7, Herrera 6, Smith 3, Bell 2, Claiborne 2
Marcos de Niza: Harry 17, Gittens 12, White 12, Lazenby 11, Tellis 8, Krane 2, Wilson 1