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Tue, Jan. 28

St. Michael finds<br>way to beat Phantoms

GC VILLAGE — In the first matchup against St. Michael this season, Grand Canyon faced an aggressive press that led to several easy baskets for the Cardinals in a 76-57 loss. As a result, the coaching staff worked with the team all week on handling the ball in those pressure situations.

Michael Vincent attempts a jumpshot against St. Michael.

The Phantoms came out Saturday in the rematch at St. Michael and repeatedly broke the Cardinals’ press. The practice had paid off. But when St. Michael coaches called off the pressure defense and fell back into a half-court setup halfway through the first quarter, the Phantoms began to have problems. St. Michael found another way to stop Grand Canyon in a 78-57 victory in a score nearly identical to the first game.

"We started in a zone and then went to man-to-man and we didn’t play bad man ... but they would get the open look for a three and bury it," Grand Canyon coach Dan Lopez said. "They shot three’s, they shot two’s."

Another thing worked on in practice last week while preparing for the St. Michael game was stopping the Card’s high-point man, who ripped the Phantoms for 37 in the first meeting. Again, Grand Canyon was successful by limiting him to just 10 points, well below his average. But the rest of the team picked it up.

St. Michael led by nine points heading into the second quarter. The Phantoms needed a run to get back into the game by the break. But the Cardinals continued with their relentless inside and outside attack and went on a 20-8 run in the second eight minutes. At the intermission, the home-team Cards were up, 45-24.

"We got down and in the second half, there was always like an 18-point buffer," Lopez said. "We never made a run at them."

St. Michael and Grand Canyon each scored 33 points in the second half. The post game was a key in the win for the Cards.

"They’d get the ball inside and would either score or we’d foul them," Lopez said. "When we got the ball inside, we’d throw it back out."

St. Michael shot an exceptional 56 percent from the floor, including 75 percent from three-point range (9-for-12).

"They’re a real balanced team," Lopez said. "They got that big lead in the first half and we were not strong enough to come back."

Mitchell Walker led the Phantoms with 22 points. Six of his seven field goals in the game were three-pointers. Tempy Walker and Richardson Tisi each scored eight points.

For the game, half of Grand Canyon’s field goals were from beyond the three-point arch. The Phantoms shot 55.6 percent from the free-throw line (10-for-18).

Grand Canyon (3-3 in region, 6-9 overall) did not play Ash Fork this past Friday. That was a scheduling error. The Phantoms will host Joseph City Friday at 7 p.m. On Saturday, the teams heads to Ash Fork for a 7 p.m. game.

Summary

ST. MICHAEL 64, GRAND CANYON 20

Saturday at St. Michael

Scoring by quarters:

Grand Canyon 16 8 18 15—57

St. Michael 25 20 19 14—78

Grand Canyon Scoring:

Tempy Walker 3 1-2 8, Michael Vincent 1 1-2 3, Nate Bitsui 1 0-0 2, Kendall Kachinhongva 1 2-2 4, Miles Hunter 2 0-0 5, Miguel Davila 0 2-2 2, Mitchell Walker 7 2-4 22, Richardson Tisi 2 3-4 8, Robert Stickler 1 1-2 3. Totals 18 10-18 57.

Three-point goals: M. Walker 6, T. Walker, Hunter, Tisi.

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