BASKETBALL: Scorpions edge Havasu boys hoops in nailbiter, 55-54
Goodyear Desert Edge hit five 3-pointers in the second quarter and eight in the game, building a significant lead and holding off a last-second attempt from Lake Havasu to win 55-54 in a West Valley regional boys basketball game on Thursday at Lake Havasu High School.
Havasu’s stingy defense helped it hold the Scorpions to eight points in the first quarter but Desert Edge caught fire in the second. Jonathan Soto hit four 3-pointers in the quarter and the team piled on four more in the next eight minutes to help the Scorpions build a nine-point lead late in the third quarter.
Havasu, led by the quick hands of senior Cole Wade at midcourt, went on a 7-0 run to close the gap to two points, but an immediate 3-pointer from Soto gave Desert Edge a five-point lead entering the fourth quarter.
The Knights switched into a full-court pressure defense to start the final quarter and it worked, holding the Scorpions to six points for the first six minutes of play.
Havasu’s Noah Boyd went on a personal 11-6 run to tie the game at 50-50 and Havasu took a lead on its next trip down the floor, with Will Prater hitting a pair of free throws.
But a lapse in defense a few seconds later cost the Knights, forgetting to stop the ball on Desert Edge’s run up the court leaving the Scorpions a wide-open lane for a layup to tie the game.
Desert Edge scored the next five points to take a 55-52 lead, but a circus shot from Wade with 20 seconds to play, where off balance he got enough English on his driving layup attempt that it spun off the rim and the backboard before finding the bottom of the net, kept Havasu within a shot of the win.
Havasu got that chance after Desert Edge missed the front end of a bonus free throw, giving the Knights the ball with 2.3 seconds to play.
Wade inbounded the ball to Andrew Ortega who got the ball back to Wade, but a high-arcing shot from 30 feet out fell off the rim to end the game.
“It’s always been close with those guys,” Havasu coach Ted Darnell said. “But, we missed a lot of layups that were kind of the difference. Little things make a big difference and, unfortunately, it takes things like this to happen for (younger players to learn).
“But, they played their butts off, like they have all season. I can’t take anything away from them. The kids played hard.
“There were some things we could’ve done better, but (Desert Edge was) hot. They were lighting it up. There’s not much you can do when a team is shooting the ball that well. And it wasn’t just one guy, it was three guys that were consistently hitting outside shots. They cooled off a little bit but by that time we were running out of time.”
Boyd had a game-high 22 points to lead Havasu and Wade had 15 points.
The Knights will close out the regular season on Tuesday at No. 2 Glendale Deer Valley.
There was no score reported from the girls game at Desert Edge and Havasu’s coach was unable to return a message by deadline time.
The Knights will close out their season at home on Tuesday against Glendale Deer Valley on senior night.