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Thu, Oct. 29

Varsity boys end weekend with 2-1 record

John Kissner plays in last Friday’s home game against Williams.

John Kissner plays in last Friday’s home game against Williams.

The Grand Canyon boys basketball team battled through three tough games last week, coming out with a 2-1 record.

On Thursday night the Phantoms methodically wore out the Beaver Dam Diamondbacks, winning 53-30.

Senior center Bille Booth led all scorers with 24 points and 17 rebounds. Sophomore Dan Celis added 10 points and junior Dan Trenchard had 9.

The Phantoms took an 18 to 8 lead at halftime and maintained a comfortable lead throughout the second half.

On Friday night the Phantoms faced the fifth ranked Williams Vikings, a team that beat Grand Canyon by 22 points last month in Williams. The gritty Phantoms battled the Vikes toe to toe, succumbing 43-33 in the final minutes of the game.

Trailing 34-21 to start the fourth quarter the boys turned up the defensive pressure and made a valiant run to trail 33-37 with 1:05 to go in the game. GC had three chances to tie the game but could not convert four one-in-one free throw opportunities.

"I thought we played very well tonight," said Head Coach Dan Lopez. "We got a lot of open looks and kids that usually make those shots just couldn't get them to fall. Our conference is very balanced so you have to execute and take advantage of opportunities that the other team gives you. We did not and Williams did."

Booth led the Phantoms with 19 points and 9 rebounds.

On Saturday the Phantoms traveled to Seligman for a key conference game with regional qualifying implications, and they turned out a solid, well-played performance beating the Antelopes 60-35.

Booth had an outstanding game, scoring 24 points and 23 rebounds despite sitting out the first half after two early first quarter fouls and part of the third quarter after he picked up his fourth foul midway through the third quarter. Celis and Trenchard chipped in 8 points apiece and back up center Andres Velazquez turned in a solid performance off the bench, scoring 7 points and garnering 7 rebounds with Booth on the bench with foul trouble.

"Big win for us," Lopez commented. "This keeps us in contention for a favorable seeding for regionals as long as we take care of business in our remaining games. At least we keep control of our own destiny and we do not have to rely on someone else having to win or lose. Andres did a great job tonight with Bille on the bench. This was a real team win as everyone just played good, solid basketball."

The Phantoms have a home game against Northland Prep tomorrow starting at 6 p.m. with the girls varsity followed by the boys. On Friday they go to Ash Fork then are back at home against Joe City on Saturday, with the girls JV starting at 4 p.m., girls varsity at 5:30 p.m. and varsity boys at 7 p.m.

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