With one hand already on the 2A Central Section title after its win at Northland Preparatory Academy on Jan. 31, the Sedona Red Rock High School boys basketball team had a chance to grasp it on Feb. 3.
The Scorpions [19-9, 5-3 2A Central] hosted the Glendale Preparatory Academy Griffins on senior night with the title on the line, a perfect setup for a memorable night for seniors Randy Rodriguez, Walker Cox, Dawson Stevenson and Chas Rescigno.
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However, it slipped through their fingers, losing 46-43.
“It sucks that we lost, but the crowd was great,” Cox said. “I had my family here, playing my last game at home with my brother and all my teammates, guys who I grew up with, so it was emotional but it was just awesome.”
Red Rock had a 16-7 lead after the first quarter, but a 13-2 Griffin run, nine from three-pointers, gave the visitors a 20-18 lead.
After a timeout junior forward Winston Cox evened the game on a putback, then Stevenson blocked a Glendale Prep shot, and later scored to knot the game at 22 at halftime.
“We let them claw their way back into it and we had a tough time putting the ball in the hoop in that second quarter,” Walker Cox said. “They were making their shots and he [head coach Kirk Westervelt] just told us that we had to fight now and it was going to be a different half second half.”
Red Rock won the third quarter 12-5, but Stevenson, its main rebounder and rim protector, picked up his third and fourth fouls in quick succession, forcing him to the bench.
The Scorpions finishing troubles became in the second half. They forced six Glendale Prep turnovers in the third, but managed just two points from them.
Red Rock held a 34-27 advantage after three.
As the Scorpions missed shots, the Griffins made theirs. They opened with a three-point play, then made three triples to knot the game at 39.
Stevenson fouled a shooter with 2:42 left, and a technical on the Scorpions after gave the Griffins four free throws, sinking three.
“He’s [Stevenson] a big guy down low, and against a team like this we need our bigs,” Walker Cox said. “And so that affected us a lot I think in having our primary big having to sit the last couple of minutes.”
The Scorpions still had open looks, but few went in.
Red Rock was able to pull itself even with a four for seven effort from the charity stripe down the stretch.
But with 15 seconds left, Griffin senior guard Zach Hendricks nailed the game-winning three. In total, Glendale Prep hit nine triples.
“I’m still proud of our effort, I think that we fought and we just didn’t end up on the right side of the scoreboard,” Walker Cox said. “This one was emotional, you know, ‘cause it’s senior night you got the championship on the line, so it’s emotional, but I mean at the end of the day it is what it is.”
Stevenson led Red Rock with 13 points, including its first seven.
When the two teams matched up on Jan. 17, Red Rock dropped a 57-55 decision in overtime.
On Saturday, Feb. 4 the Scorpions bounced back with a 53-48 win at Division 3A Page High School.