Michael Bibby Jr. had an off shooting night.
Carlos Johnson (26 points) scored 17 points in the first half, but Salpointe keyed in on him in the second half.
Somebody else had to step up for Shadow Mountain in the second half Wednesday or its playoff trip would end sooner than expected. J.J. Rhymes to the rescue.
The sleek sophomore scored 23 of his 25 points in the second half of Wednesday’s Division II quarterfinals to help his team erase a 10-point third quarter deficit and beat No. 1 seed Salpointe 75-66. Shadow Mountain will continue to keep its playoff bus running Thursday when it returns for its state semifinal game at Jobing.com Arena, where it will face Cienega.
“In the second half, I had to do something for my team,” Rhymes said. “I wasn’t going to let them down. We are not done. We are not done yet.”
Rhymes did most of his damage around the basket and at the free throw line, where he was shooting 59 percent before Wednesday’s game.
But on Wednesday Rhymes went 9 for 11, including 8 for 8 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter, when No. 8 seed Shadow Mountain grabbed its first lead in the game.
Rhymes’ 25 points were a season high, and he was one point away from tying a career high. But the number on the mind of Rhymes and his teammates is “three.”
“We want three (championships),” said Rhymes, one of seven sophomores on his team. “We don’t want one. We don’t want two. We want three.”
The 27-3 team is two wins away from getting the first.