Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009 | 11:05 p.m.
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Despite a swirl of controversy, a two-seed drop in the playoff standings, a change of venue and even a 10-point third-quarter deficit, the Desert Pines boys basketball team prevailed.
Prior to Wednesday's Sunrise Regional quarterfinal match-up against Silverado, the Jaguars were dropped from the Northeast Division's No. 1 seed to the No. 3 because of their use of an ineligible player in three league games this season. Instead of hosting Coronado on Tuesday, the Jaguars traveled to Silverado the following day where they won 78-70 over the Southeast's No. 2 seed.
The Jaguars (19-9) fell into a 10-point hole early in the third quarter, but turned on the high-pressure defense to advance to Thursday's semifinals.
"We got the tempo going the way we like it in the second half," Desert Pines coach Chancellor Davis. "In the first half they tried to slow us down. In the second half we played ball the way we like to. We played fast, we out-rebounded them and we kept the ball out of their hands."
Desert Pines senior point guard Pierre Jackson scored a team high 22 points and created havoc along with teammate Reggie Shaw, who held Silverado point guard Ali Sabra to only eight points.
"Obviously there's been a lot of controversy around us this week and it probably got into our heads a little bit," Jackson said. "At halftime coach told us we had to pick it up and push all that stuff out of our minds. We came out hard and took the game back."
In addition to Jackson, the Jaguars received double-digit points from Shaw (13), Cliff Harrell (14), Tyler Larson (13) and Chris Perry (12).
Silverado senior Wade Collie had game-highs in points (28) and rebounds (19) while teammate James Lata added 21 points but neither was able to spark a fourth-quarter rally for the 'Hawks (24-6).
"Having your opponent switched last minute is going to affect you a little bit but not to the point that it should take you out of a 10-point lead," Silverado senior guard Josh Hyun said. "We should have been ready for them. We had no rebounding in the second half and we let them steal it."
The Jaguars now advance to the semifinals where they will face Eldorado.
"We're going to have to come out and play hard and play the way we know we're capable of," Davis said. "It's win or go home now. It doesn't get more serious than that."
Jared Harmon can be reached at 990-8922 or firstname.lastname@example.org.