Gilbert knocks off Basha again - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Gilbert knocks off Basha again

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Posted: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 9:28 pm | Updated: 9:34 pm, Tue Jan 31, 2012.

Freddie Lash threw down a left-handed dunk, then couldn't help himself.

With the home crowd whipped into a frenzy, the senior guard lifted his arms above his head and flexed his biceps.

The move drew a technical foul, and truth be told, the wiry 6-foot-3, 145-pounder doesn't have much muscle to show off, but Lash and the Gilbert boys basketball team proved once again on Tuesday night that looks can be deceiving.

The No. 7 Tigers beat No. 4 Basha for the second time this season, 75-54, in a critical Division I power points contest.

The Bears boast three juniors - Torren Jones, Jaron Hopkins and Maurice Kirby - that may go on to play Division I college basketball, but Gilbert's unimposing group made this victory look even easier than the first.

"I knew they were going to be out to beat us, obviously," Gilbert coach Jay Caserio said. "It was a big win."

Basha had an early 11-6 lead, but the Tigers went on a 16-0 run to take a lead they never relinquished. The Bears were within 41-36 midway through the third quarter, but Gilbert quickly pushed the lead back up to double digits in less than a minute.

Lash put the exclamation point on the victory by getting a pass in transition and throwing down the dunk for a 66-46 lead with 3:52 remaining.

"It felt so good," Lash said of the dunk. "You don't even know."

The Tigers entered the game eighth in the Division I power point rankings and the win should help them move up. The top-8 teams earn a first round bye in the state tournament.

Gilbert has two more games this week to end the regular season while others have only one, so the Tigers seem to have a good shot at making a move up in the standings.

"It should help, but it doesn't if you don't win," Caserio said.

Lash had 18 points to lead Gilbert and Erik Crawford added 15 points.

Jones led Basha with 13 points and eight rebounds. Hopkins had 11 points but shot only 4-of-16 from the field.

The Bears were second in the power point rankings heading into the contest. Coach Brad Pinter said Gilbert poses matchup problems for Basha.

"They did a good job of hitting outside shots, and once you're hitting that many 3's, you're going to get some inside stuff," he said.

Gilbert guard Cody Martin injured his knee with 9.8 seconds remaining in the first quarter and didn't return. Caserio said it was a muscle injury, and Martin, one of the team's best players, will be checked out on Wednesday morning. 

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[Stats Courtesy of MaxPreps]