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Skyhawks win key showdown over Apollos on Tuesday

Southridge wins 59-47 to take over second place in league


CEDAR MILL — The calendar said one thing, but the play on the court said something else entirely.

Tuesday’s Southridge-at-Sunset boys basketball game came in just the first round of the second half of league play, but the way the game was played, it had “playoff” written all over it.

The Skyhawks and Apollos battled hammer and tong Tuesday night at Sunset High School, with the Skyhawks using their size and balanced scoring to power past Sunset 59-47 and grab sole possession of second place in the Metro League.by: MILES VANCE - TO THE HOOP - Sunset's Taylor Harris leaps past Southridge's Caleb Dozier to score during the Apollos' 59-47 Metro League loss to the Skyhawks on Tuesday night at Sunset High School.

“It was great,” said Southridge senior Kevin McClean, who had 14 points in Tuesday’s win. “We came out hot. We played great defense. We got a lot of boards and we just did what we were coached to do.”

“We knew that after we beat them at our place last time, they were going to come out all frustrated and mad and try to give their all to beat us this time,” added Southridge senior Caleb Dozier, who also had 14 points on Tuesday. “We just had to come out, execute our game plan and rebound and defend.”

The win lifted Southridge’s Metro League record to 4-2 (11-8 overall) and kept the Skyhawks two games behind league-leading Jesuit. Sunset, meanwhile, lost for the second straight time and dropped to 3-3 in league play (12-7 overall) and a third-place tie with Westview.

“We just tried to battle back,” said Sunset senior Joe McFerrin III, who scored a team-high 11 points in his team’s loss. “We got down early, but we just tried to stay focused and battle back to try and get the lead back.”

Neither team could get much distance on the other in Tuesday’s first quarter, with Southridge getting five early points (including a three-pointer) from Caleb Herzberg while Sunset answered with four each from Jeff Bieber and Tucker Hutchinson to stay within 12-10 at the end of the frame.

The Skyhawks took momentary control in the second quarter, opening the period on a 13-5 run that started with a three-point play by McClean, then included two Herzberg foul shots, an inside hoop from Dozier, a Herzberg floater from the right baseline, two Griff Christensen free throws, and finally, an AJ Monterossi jumpshot in the lane to give Southridge a 25-15 lead with 2 minutes, 45 second to go in the half.

Sunset raced back with a Daniel Duitsman three-pointer and a three-point play from Taylor Harris, but the Skyhawks responded with a Dozier “three” and a McClean jumpshot from the left corner in the final second that put the Skyhawks up 32-21 at the half.

But the game really kicked into high gear — as did the two teams’ emotions — in the third quarter. After Dozier pushed his team’s lead to 34-21 on the first possession of the period, the Apollos began to battle back into contention. McFerrin drilled a three-pointer to cut the gap to 10 points, junior center Tyler Gutierrez followed with five straight points, Bieber spun into the lane and scored, McFerrin nailed another “three” and Bieber added a late foul shot to bring the Apollos within 40-35 at the end of the period.

Dozier had six points in the period for Southridge and McClean an inside hoop to help keep the Skyhawks in front.

Sunset was still down just five when Gutierrez rebounded an Adam Mead miss and scored on a reverse to make it 42-37 with 5:27 to go in the fourth quarter, but the Apollos got no closer.

Southridge answered with a 7-0 run over a span of just 52 seconds to re-establish control, with Monterossi hitting a pull-up jumpshot, Herzberg scoring on the fast break and turning it into a three-point play, and McClean taking a Dozier pass and scoring inside to make it 49-37 with 3:18 left in the game.

The Apollos tried to come back once more, getting a Bieber foul shot and a McFerrin three-pointer to close within 49-41, but Southridge put the game away at the foul line, hitting 8-of-11 in the final 2:04, including four straight by Herzberg in the final minute.

“We realized they were getting close (in the third quarter), but we just calmed down and went on to doing what we do best,” McClean said.

“They’re ranked higher than us so we knew that getting this win would help us in the rankings because that’s what matters at the end,” Dozier added.

For their part, the Apollos left hungry for success in league and wishing for a third shot at the Skyhawks.

“We want to see them again down the road,” Bieber said. “We feel good about them and we feel we can get them next time.”

“We just have to capitalize on the opportunities we get in the game,” McFerrin added. “We’re going to prepare for each and every team coming up, and hopefully, we’ll see them again.”

Herzberg led the Skyhawks with 16 points and Monterossi added nine more in the win, while Gutierrez finished with 10 for Sunset and Bieber eight.

To see a complete photo gallery from this match, please go to milesvance.exposuremanager.com.




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