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Agua Fria routs Sierra Linda to open postseason
Submitted by Shane McOwen on Wed, 02/15/2017 - 12:00am
Owls dominate Bulldogs in 74-35 victory
Agua Fria boys basketball picked up its 20th win of the season in emphatic style by crushing Phoenix Sierra Linda, 74-35, in the play-in round of the 5A state playoffs.
The Owls closed out the regular season winning nine of their last 10 games, and continued the hot stretch against Sierra Linda. Agua Fria was a collective monster on the defensive end, holding the Bulldogs to just 26 percent shooting from the field, and 19 percent on 3-point attempts.
Sierra Linda’s last regular season game was a one-point loss to Phoenix Sunnyslope, a team Agua Fria lost to twice this year. Owls coach Randy Lavender said they were expecting a tough fight to open the playoffs.
“I had my guys pumped up,” he said. “I had them ready and let them know these guys were coming in here. They had just lost to Sunnyslope by one. We lost to them twice, so I figured we’d be in for a battle. I [told them] you guys have to come out ready to play.”
The Owls did just that, Lavender said.
“Our guys came out and stuck to the game plan,” he said. “They did a great defensive job that I was proud of. It was great for them to come through on defense like that.”
The Owls got contributions from up and down the lineup, starting with senior captain Bryce Fowler, Lavender said.
“Once again, Bryce did lead the charge, and the other guys came and followed through,” he said. “One thing I try to preach is share the ball, which they did.”
The Owls, the No. 9 seed, will now travel to face No. 8 Glendale Ironwood in the first round at 6:30 p.m. today.
Agua Fria beat Ironwood 70-43 in the first game of the season in November. Lavender expects a different game this time around, he said.
“We played them [early] in the season, but I think they’re a completely different team,” he said. “Us going there, no matter what, it’s going to be a battle.”
Today’s winner will face the victor between No. 1 Glendale Apollo and No. 16 Maricopa at 6:30 p.m. Saturday on the home court of the highest remaining seed.
Shane McOwen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ShaneMcOwen.
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