The short-handed boys Grand Canyon basketball team made a gutsy effort in the 2007 Route 66 Williams basketball tournament, with an opening round win over Seligman 54-48.
The Canyon jumped out to a 16-2 first quarter lead with senior center Bille Booth and junior guard Dan Trenchard leading the way. The Canyon led 41-26 starting the fourth quarter. Seligman rallied behind five 3-pointers in the later stages of the fourth quarter.
Head Coach Dan Lopez had his starters on the bench and let the young second tier players weather the storm.
"We do not have a lot of depth so we need to experience playing without Bille and Danny Trenchard on the floor. I was getting a little nervous at the end but our kids came through as usual," he said.
Cuco Jaime and Cruz Caballero had 6 points each while Trenchard chipped in 8 points and 5 assists. Senior forward/center Booth led all scorers with 26 points and 9 rebounds.
1A East Mogollon started the game running and never looked back in routing the Grand Canyon boys 66-38. The Mustangs outscored the Phantoms 15-6 in the second quarter and never looked back.
Booth led the Phantoms with 12 points but only had one field goal in the second half. Grand Canyon failed to score a field goal in the third quarter and that was the ball game. Sophomore Dan Celis had his best varsity showing with 9 points and 6 rebounds. Jaime and Trenchard each had 6 points.
The GC boys, already short-handed because of grade eligibility problems, lost a heartbreaker to Fredonia 40-34.
Up by 13 points the Phantoms lost starting guard Trenchard to a severe ankle sprain and two minutes later leading scorer Booth was taken to the clinic with a severe wrist injury.
This left Lopez with eight players, three with no varsity experience.
"I can't say enough for Andres Valasquez, Cruz Caballero, Dan Celis, John Kissner, Cuco and Jose Jaime for stepping up and keeping us in this game. After Dan and Bille left I thought we would get blown out, but these kids played their hearts out and kept us in the game," Lopez said. "This is the epitome of Phantom basketball. Ever since Greg and I have been working together we have a team reputation of always, always playing hard no matter what the situation, tonight was an exclamation on that reputation. These kids deserve lots of kudos, they showed a lot of Phantom spirit."
Jaime had a team high 10 points and Kissner, a freshman, had 6.
"Cuco is one of the quickest kids in our conference so as his basketball knowledge improves he is just going to get better," Lopez said. "John has the potential to be one of the best guards we have had at GCHS. He works very hard and keeps improving. John is very coachable and, as long as he keeps up his self-confidence, is going to have a good year."