Shadow Mountain boys wake up in time to top North in hoops
Originally published: Jan 3, 2014 - 12:00 am
Mike Bibby went through it as a player at Phoenix Shadow Mountain, the University of Arizona and in the NBA.
He knows that success on the basketball floor on one night doesn’t necessarily carry over to the next.
He experienced it again the last few days as the lead assistant coach for Shadow Mountain in the Phoenix Union High School District Holiday Classic at Phoenix South Mountain.
Bibby runs the Shadow show while helping head coach Jerry Conner, the team’s coach when he played, and saw the Matadors roll up a big 75-66 win over Laveen Cesar Chavez on Thursday night (Jan. 2).
Friday night’s (Jan. 3) semifinal encounter with Phoenix North was much the opposite.
North jumped to an early lead and stayed with the Matadors throughout the first half, leading by one at intermission. The Mustangs hung tough and trailed by four entering the fourth quarter but could not keep pace in the final eight minutes as Shadow picked up a 71-62 victory.
Shadow Mountain will meet Laveen Betty H. Fairfax for the tourney title at 6 p.m. on Saturday (Jan. 4).
“It’s (struggle) just something they’re going to go through,’’ Bibby said. “We had a big game yesterday (Thursday) and I think the guys just thought they could just walk out here and win. They were lackadaisical and saw that North was going to be just as tough (as Cesar Chavez).’’
The Matadors took the lead by increasing the defensive pressure.
“Defense takes the pressure off you, puts it on them and makes things easier for you,’’ Bibby said.
Shadow Mountain’s talented sophomore trio of Carlos Johnson, Bibby’s son, Michael, and J.J. Rhymes, got the job done.
Johnson scored 20 points, including a few jams, young Bibby scored 18, including three 3-pointers, and Rhymes contributed 16.
The 6-foot-5 Johnson and the 6-4 Rhymes were aggressive on the boards, particularly in the second half, to help eliminate any chances that North would have for putbacks.
“Those guys have big bodies and when they crash the boards, they can be tough to stop,’’ Bibby said.
Marco Gamez led North with 17 points, including four 3-pointers, and Elijah Williams scored 15. Williams utilized his speed on numerous occasions, and it is doubtful that many guards can match that.
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