Tempe Prep wants to make a run at the Division IV boys basketball championship and to do that, the Knights feel they have to play against teams in higher divisions during holiday tournaments.
Such an opportunity presented itself on Thursday (Dec. 26), when Tempe Prep faced Division II Cottonwood Mingus in the 2013 Holiday Hoops Tournament at Phoenix Christian Prep. The tourney continues on Friday (Dec. 27) and Saturday (Dec. 28) for both boys and girls teams.
The momentum went back and forth between Tempe Prep and Mingus throughout most of the game, and Mingus held a 55-50 lead with about 4 ½ minutes left in the game. Tempe Prep then turned up the defensive pressure and kept Mingus off the board the rest of the way, roaring from behind for a 60-55 victory.
“Now that was fun,’’ said Tempe Prep third-year coach Jonathan Lambros.
“This is the time of year where you want to try to build some momentum by playing against these teams in the larger divisions, proving that you can hang with them,’’ he added. “We feel we can do that if we play our game.’’
One of the Knights’ points of emphasis is defense.
“Our defensive motto is, “Play together,’ ’’ Lambros said. “A lot of people talk about that, but they don’t always play together.’’
Mingus had early success by pushing the ball to the middle of the floor and allowing the ball to be distributed from there.
“So we wanted to cut that off and we were able to most of the time,’’ Lambros said. “We wanted to disrupt their offense.’’
Tempe Prep (7-4 before a later game against Division II Tucson Catalina) had three players score in double figures – Ryan Van Dusen with 14 points, Luke Sandoval with 13 and Joseph Zwemke with 10.
“If you look at our (score) book this season, you will see that our points are pretty balanced,’’ Lambros said.
Catalina rolled to a 59-34 victory over Phoenix Valley Lutheran. The game was played with a running clock for most of the second half.
Andrue Rodriguez, Jacob Salzbrenner and Cole Kowalski each scored 12 for the Trojans. Post player Jimmy Arwood led Valley Lutheran’s Flames with 18 points.