Dylan Pescatore
ASU Student Journalist

#8 Phoenix Christian falls to #1 seed Scottsdale Christian Academy

February 16, 2022 by Dylan Pescatore, Arizona State University


Phoenix Christian's Micah Carter plays defense late in the fourth quarter. (Dylan Pescatore, AZpreps365)

Dylan Pescatore is an ASU Cronkite School of Journalism student assigned to cover Phoenix Christian High School for AZPreps365.com

Phoenix Christian saw multiple leads vanish throughout the night as they were outlasted by Scottsdale Christian Academy 44-38 on Monday.

The Cougars were up 17-3 on the number one team in the 2A Metro Region, until Eagles star Garrison Sherman got loose. The Eagles were down by double digits, but Sherman wasn’t worried.

“Our energy was super low, but we had to stay patient, and trust our offense,” he said. 

The first quarter was right on plan for Phoenix Christian. The team scored 13 points, but more importantly the Cougars shut down the Scottsdale Christian offense. For a team that has been able to put the ball in the basket with ease, the Eagles had one of their worst first quarters of the season, scoring only three points.

The start to the second quarter was a continuation of the first, with the Cougars lead growing to 14 points just two minutes into the frame. This is where things started to go downhill for Phoenix Christian star forward Tommy Randolph, who picked up his second foul, forcing coach Ben Stryczek to bench him for the rest of the first half.

“It was pretty tough, I mean with the number one team in the state, I knew they were going to make their runs tonight,”  Stryczek said. “It would've been nice to have my top player on the court.”  

Randolph went out with his team up by 14 points, with six minutes left in the first half. When the buzzer sounded for halftime the scoreboard read 17-17. It was brothers Hunter and Braden Wales who took over for the Eagles. They combined for nine of the fourteen points, using their size to dominate in the paint. 

Phoenix Christian did not let the 14-0 run by the Eagles deter them from their goal, which was taking down the number one team in the 2A region. They came out with a vengeance to start the third quarter, with Randolph coming back onto the court. They broke out in a 10-4 run, spearheaded by senior Micah Carter who drilled two corner three-pointers, giving the Cougars a 32-25 advantage going into the final quarter. 

 

Tommy Randolph, (22), drives the lane late in the fourth quarter against Eagles star Garrison Sherman. (Dylan Pescatore, AZpreps365)

It took just five minutes and 30 seconds to erase the seven-point deficit as the Eagles took the lead 36-34 with two and a half minutes to go. 

With the pressure mounting, Phoenix Christian had possession with 1:55 left to go, down 38-34. Randolph drove to the paint, finding a wide open Jerahmia Sosa— who missed the layup. The crowd groaned as the Eagles went the other way. Sherman dunked the ball and increased the cushion to six.

Scottsdale Christian finished in the lead, 44-38. Sherman scored eight of his 10 points in the fourth quarter to secure the win. 

Randolph said the Cougars need to get back to their identity before playoffs begin tomorrow night. 

“Closing out games, not shooting ourselves out— we aren’t a great shooting team, so we gotta do what we’re comfortable with,” Randolph said. “Pushing the pace of the game and staying intense on defense throughout all four quarters.” 

The Cougars will face Pinon High School in the 2A play-in tournament tonight at home.