Defense helps Hamilton advance in D-I boys hoops tourney
Originally published: Feb 22, 2014 - 12:00 am
Chandler Hamilton’s boys basketball team has players who can score, but not burn-out-the-scoreboard score. So the Huskies need more than that to be successful.
And that element is defense.
The Huskies kept Avondale Westview’s offense under wraps most of the night on Saturday (Feb. 22), knocking the ball away and forcing bad shots on the way to a 56-38 victory at home in the second round of the Division I tournament.
Seventh-seeded Hamilton (24-3) moves on to the quarterfinals on Thursday (Feb. 27) at Arizona State’s Wells Fargo Arena and will meet No. 2 Mesa Dobson at 6 p.m. Dobson defeated Chandler on Saturday night 77-67.
Hamilton defeated Dobson by one point in overtime on Dec. 3, and will need its defense again if it expects to repeat.
“We are excited for our opportunity,’’ said Hamilton coach Kevin Hartwig. “We’ve been counting on our defense all year, and we are going to have to do it again.’’
Hamilton held 10th-seeded Westview (22-7) to just two baskets by Isaiah Bellamy in the first quarter and led by seven going into the second.
Westview’s 6-foot-8 senior forward, Andre Adams, was seldom involved in the offense in the first half and wasn’t much of a factor the entire game. Bellamy, a senior wing, did his best, scoring 13 points, but didn’t get a lot of help.
Westview only trailed by six at halftime, but Hamilton got two quick buckets, including a 3-pointer by Anthony Withers, and started to pull away.
Withers drilled another trey to make it 36-22 on what Hamilton thought was the final play of the third quarter. But the officials put one second back on the clock, gave the ball to Westview and the Knights took advantage.
A quick inbounds pass to Bellamy was enough for him to get a 3-pointer away, and the ball went in, cutting the Hamilton lead to 36-25.
The Huskies coasted the rest of the way.
They had balanced scoring.
“It’s been that way all year long,’’ Hartwig said.
Luke McCook scored 13 points to lead the way, while Dylan McCall and James Soskinski each scored 10.
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