The Grand Canyon boys basketball team produced a hard-earned split on a rugged road trip deep into northeast Arizona, highlighted by an exciting 52-48 win over the St. Michael's Cardinals Saturday afternoon.
The Phantoms dropped a 59-38 game to Round Rock the night before in a match that was closer than the final score.
In the St. Mike's game, the Phantoms fell behind early, trailing 16-9 after the first quarter.
Defensive intensity and balanced scoring resulted in the Canyon outscoring the Cardinals 12-6 in the second quarter, cutting the lead to 22-21 at halftime.
The Phantoms started the third quarter by getting the ball inside to 6-foot, 6-inch senior Bille Booth, vaulting the Canyon to a 38-33 lead to start the final quarter.
The fourth proved to be very exciting as both teams traded baskets and no lead was greater than four points.
Cuco Jaime, who had a game-high 18 points - 11 in the fourth quarter - provided the win.
With the Canyon up 47-45 and 1:09 remaining, he was fouled on a 3-point attempt and calmly hit all three free throws to give the Phantoms a 50-45 lead.
The Cardinals hit a quick 3 to narrow the gap to 50-48, but Jaime scored on a layup and the Phantoms (2-4) held on to the win.
Danny Trenchard chipped in 12 points followed by Bille Booth with 11 points and 19 rebounds.
"Any time you get a split on this road trip, your kids have done a great job," said Head Coach Dan Lopez. "I think the key to this game was the play of junior Andres Velazquez ... 4 points, 8 rebounds - Andres just played solid defense and he hit the boards very hard when Bille was on the bench with foul trouble. We are not the most talented team in our conference but I am very proud to these kids. They play very hard."