Do you like watching point guards? Peoria High boys basketball coach Michael Serwa has plenty of them.
He has six on whom he relies most of the time. They are more or less interchangeable and are extremely quick, quicker than St. Nick on his Christmas Eve delivery route.
Peoria also doesn’t seem to get flustered. The Panthers keep their composure.
Saturday night (Dec. 21) provided a good example of that, when the Panthers held off repeated rally attempts by Tempe Marcos de Niza for a 57-53 victory in the championship game of the Horizon Holiday Hoops Invitational at Phoenix Horizon.
Senior Brody Sharkey led the way for Peoria with 24 points, including four 3-pointers. Junior Stefan Smith scored 10 with a pair of 3-pointers, and sophomore Kahliq Muhammad showed flashes of brilliance with eight points.
“They (Marcos de Niza) did a good job running their offense, and we were able to maintain our flow and our composure,’’ Serwa said.
The quickness is an integral element of a team whose tallest player is 6-foot-6 post player Jose Bustamante.
It is a noticeable difference from the team Serwa put on the floor two years ago and won the Division II state championship.
“That team had a lot more positional players, and now we have a scrappy team, moving and hustling all the time. We are starting to develop a good chemistry,’’ Serwa said.
Peoria got off to a slow start but has won five of its last six and stands at 6-6. Marcos also struggled, losing three of its first four, but has improved and has a 4-5 mark.
Peoria hit seven 3-pointers, all in the first half, and that allowed the Panthers to gain the upper hand.
The Panthers had a 14-point lead through the middle of the third quarter, and Marcos de Niza came alive.
The Padres went on a 10-0 run before a Bustamante tip gave Peoria a six-point lead entering the fourth.
Muhammad scored two quick baskets to begin the fourth and Smith added a pair of free throws to make it 45-33, but Marcos de Niza would not go away.
A 3-pointer by Kelsey Trevino brought Marcos within 53-49 with 28.4 seconds left. Peoria then lost the ball on its next possession but Marcos could not convert.
Sharkey, named the tournament MVP, hit four free throws in the final 22.1 seconds and Peoria was able to hold on.
HORIZON HOLIDAY HOOPS INVITATIONAL
Championship – Peoria 57, Tempe Marcos de Niza 53
Third place – Phoenix Horizon 60, Phoenix Scottsdale Christian 56
Consolation – Phoenix Arcadia 87, Peoria Centennial 59
Brody Sharkey, Peoria (MVP)
Jose Bustamante, Peoria
Nikeal Harry, Marcos de Niza
Ty Lazenby, Marcos de Niza
Austin DeWeerdt, Horizon
Brandon Burke, Horizon
Jared Frame, Scottsdale Christian
Connor Segneri, Scottsdale Christian
Connor Nichols, Arcadia
Xavier Villanueva, Centennial
Matt Bear, Phoenix North Canyon