Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012 | 7:10 p.m.
Las Vegas Sun reporters Case Keefer and Ray Brewer discuss the high school basketball playoffs, disagreeing on both brackets. Case likes Canyon Springs to win the Sunrise Regional; Ray think they lose in the first round.
When the Foothill High basketball team scored just four points Thursday in the second quarter of its Sunrise Regional semifinal game against defending state champion Canyon Springs, the Falcons’ players could have easily become frustrated. But they didn’t.
That’s especially true for senior guard Greg Cox, who despite being one of the best 3-point shooters in Southern Nevada, misfired on several long-range attempts in the quarter.
Cox’s slump didn’t last into the second half. He connected on two 3-pointers in the third quarter to help the Falcons erase a seven-point halftime deficit and win 56-48 to earn a spot in Friday’s regional championship game.
The 5-foot-10 Cox hit four 3-pointers in the game, including three in the second half to finish with 16 points.
“We were just struggling offensively,” Cox said. “I stayed confident and didn’t let it affect me. I knew if I kept shooting, they would eventually (start going) in.”
Foothill trailed 23-14 with six minutes to play in the third quarter, but went on a 10-0 scoring run to get back into the game. The score was even at 31-all at the end of the quarter, but the momentum was clearly on Foothill’s side.
“We put in so much work,” Foothill coach Kevin Soares said. “This thing isn’t November to February for us. We have played in enough games and been in enough situations that this wasn’t an unfamiliar situation for us.”
In the fourth quarter, Cox and Austin Starr connected on consecutive 3-pointers to give Foothill a 41-37 lead with 3:46 to play. They would never trail again, making 11-of-12 free-throw attempts late to stretch the victory margin.
Foothill, which has won the past six Southeast Division titles, lost to Canyon Springs in last year’s semifinals at the buzzer. The Falcons wouldn’t be denied this year.
“Playing hard is our biggest attribute,” Cox said. “We know that when everyone shows up to play, we are going to win. We play with that confidence.”
Elijah Smith had 11 points for Foothill while Brannon Cresanto added 10 points. Sophomore Gerad Davis had 15 points for Canyon Springs.