No one was happier to see the scoreboard clock reach 00:00.0 than coach Josh Wray and his boys basketball team from Laveen Betty H. Fairfax.
The Stampede withstood a furious stampede by Queen Creek in the fourth quarter and held on for a 57-54 victory in a semifinal game of the Phoenix Union High School District Holiday Classic on Friday (Jan. 3) at Phoenix South Mountain.
“We made it close, but the boys worked hard to win it,’’ said Wray, who moves up from the junior-varsity level while last year’s coach, Don Dominguez, serves as a consultant.
Betty H. Fairfax will meet Phoenix Shadow Mountain for the tourney title on Saturday (Jan. 4) at 6 p.m. at South Mountain.
One got the feeling that had Queen Creek had another minute or two, it might have been able to put the finishing touches on its rally.
Betty H. Fairfax had a 55-45 lead with two minutes to play.
Queen Creek got a 3-pointer from Parker Anderson and two baskets from Carter Wilson to get within 55-52 with a little less than a minute left.
A free throw by Andre Slay gave Betty H. Fairfax a 56-52 lead with 16.6 seconds left. Queen Creek was within 56-64 with four seconds left on two free throws by Tanner Tebbs , but Slay hit another free throw with three seconds left to account for the final margin.
“All of Queen Creek’s guys can score, so you have to play good defense,’’ Wray said.
“We rely on how we play at the defensive end, getting those stops, and that helps us set up our transition game.’’
Betty H. Fairfax had three men score in double figures – Rodney Erskin and Michael Morales (11 each) and Tre Polk (10).
Queen Creek got strong play from Carter Wilson (19 points) and Anderson (15).