The Winslow Bulldogs defeated the Coolidge Bears 86-65 in a quarterfinal game of the Arizona State 3A Conference Basketball Tournament played in Flagstaff on Friday. The win sent Winslow into the semi-finals against Fountain Hills on Friday, Feb. 24 at Glendale. The Bulldogs improved their record to 25-4 with the win.
The Bulldogs could not have started out any colder than they did on Friday night as they missed their first nine shots and trailed 11-0 before getting on the scoreboard. The rest of the game belonged to Winslow though as they had closed to 22-19 by the end of the quarter and took the lead for good early in the second period. Winslow led 45-36 at the intermission and 71-50 after three periods.
Jordan Payne led all scorers with 24 points. Andrew Taliman was also in double figures for the Bulldogs with 12 points.
Coolidge had three players in double figures led by Jesse Wheeler with 17. Devon White scored 13 and Brad Jackson added 11. Winslow had more players score though and was able to control the pace of the game after the first four or five minutes.
Key to the game may have been Winslow coach Charles Gover's decision to switch to an aggressive man-to-man defense in the first quarter and maintain constant pressure for the balance of the contest.
The win was sweet revenge of sorts for the Bulldogs as several key players, including Payne, were members of the Winslow football team that lost to Coolidge in the state finals. The Bears also had many of their gridiron stars on the basketball court, including Wheeler.
Fountain Hills defeated Alchesay 86-63 to earn its berth opposite Winslow. The Falcons had defeated Tuba City 58-40 in their first game. Alchesay had reached the quarterfinals with a 66-59 win over Sahuarita.
In the lower bracket, Chinle pulled off the upset of the tournament with a 63-58 victory over the Holbrook Roadrunners who suffered only their third defeat of the season. Chinle had reached the quarterfinals with a 56-53 win over Sedona. Seton Catholic earned the other semi-final spot with a 62-51 win over Window Rock. The Sentinels had earlier beaten Payson 55-52. Winslow Rock had defeated River Valley 70-62 in its first contest.
Winslow will play Fountain Hills at 1:15 p.m. on Friday at the Glendale Arena. The winner will meet the Seton Catholic Chinle winner at 8 p.m. on Saturday for the state championship.
Winslow 19 26 26 15 86
Coolidge 22 14 14 15 65
Winslow: Jordan Payne 24, Darwin Nez 6, Trevor Cantrell 9, Andrew Taliman 12, Josh Stago 5, Jonah Budka 7, Ozzie Shirley 2, Lucas Tom 2, Russell Thomas 4, Jeremy Huskey 6 and Mario Sells 9.
Coolidge: Dushawn Rushing 2, Sharod Price 2, Jay Salcido 9, Nicolas Hill 6, Guy Paddock 2, Jesse Wheeler 17, Devon White 13, Dalton Paddock 3 and Brad Jackson 11.