Special to West Valley Preps
A two-time consecutive playoff participant, the Dysart Demons (18-8) saw what a four-time state champion is capable of accomplishing.
However, coach Keegan Cook saw his team stayed with last year’s Division II state champion Phoenix Shadow Mountain (24-0) for a while, before a series of steals and baskets helped the Matadors pull away to an 83-43 win in the first round of 4A boys basketball state tournament play.
Despite the loss, Cook said Shadow Mountain was an extremely tough opponent, and that his players did their best.
“I think we go into every game thinking we could win,” Coach Cook said. “In the first quarter we hung with them. Obviously, Shadow Mountain is a good team, and they forced turnovers, and we weren’t able to take care of the ball.”
Because of Dysart’s pressing defense and Shadow’s quickness to shoot, the Matadors hit just two of their first 15 shots. However, Dysart either had the ball stolen and came up with four baskets in 10 tries as Shadow took a 17-10 lead after one quarter.
The Demons managed to get within 17-12 on senior power forward Mikel Beyers’ basket to open the next quarter, but the Matadors went on 24-7 run to build a 41-19 halftime lead.
Cook had no problem with the way his team played. Shadow’s aggressive style of basketball under coach Mike Bibby.
“They were very opportunistic, quick and very good at getting to the ball,” Coach Cook said. “I thought we played hard, and they got gassed and struggled to keep up with their tempo.”
The 6-foot-9 Beyers finished with 16 points and Cook was appreciative of that.
“He’s been our key guy and Eli (point guard Childs), was aggressive and made good passes throughout,” he said.
Beyers was pleased that Dysart played its game and didn’t change for anyone.
“Really, we just came in and played our game – team basketball in transition,” Beyers said. “We knew they’d go on runs, and we tried to weather the storm as best we could.”
Childs could not look at this as a game to forget.
“We really had nothing to lose, and they’re a good basketball team,” Childs said. “I like to get my teammates involved and pick up the intensity on defense.”
Scoring for the Demons was spread out and the next highest scorer with eight points was junior guard Raphael Alvarado.