Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013 | 8 p.m.
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Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer fill out their brackets for the Sunset and Sunrise regional tournaments.
The Canyon Springs High basketball team was trailing Las Vegas by nine points at the end of the first quarter Thursday in the Sunrise Regional semifinals when the Pioneers got the spark they needed.
The scoreboard at Green Valley malfunctioned to cause about a 15-minute game delay, giving Canyon Springs a chance to regroup and game plan against Las Vegas’ up-tempo attack it had struggled to contain.
Canyon Springs went on a 12-0 scoring run after the game restarted, eventually prevailing 67-64 in a back-and-forth affair to earn a spot in Friday’s Sunrise championship game.
“I tried to calm my kids down,” Canyon Springs coach Freddie Banks said. “They want to go full speed and I have to slow them down. I told them, ‘Something special is going to happen. Believe in me and take it out to the floor.’”
Canyon Springs won for the sixth time in seven games, finding its stride late in the season from an unexpected source. Sophomore Jordan Davis was promoted to the varsity team about three weeks ago after team leader and college prospect Shaquille Carr was lost for the season, making an immediate impact in the backcourt.
Davis’ older brother, junior forward Gerard Davis, is Canyon Springs’ best player and had a game-high 22 points. But in the scoring rally to open the second quarter, Jordan Davis stole the show, scoring 14 points in the quarter, including a pair of nothing-but-net 3-pointers.
“(Jordan) gave us a huge spark,” Banks said. “Jordan is going to be an outstanding player as he grows and matures. He just needs to slow down when he gets in there and he will be great."
Canyon Springs trailed by three points entering the fourth quarter, but Jared Davis and Chris Swanson combined to score the Pioneers’ initial eight points and they made 7 of 9 free throws in the second half to pull away. Las Vegas, meanwhile, missed several key foul shots down the stretch.
“We just stuck together and played as a team, and we knocked down free throws like we said we would do,” said Swanson, who finished with 18 points. “Earlier in the season, we were missing a lot of free throws, so we said we had to improve on that.”
Aziz Leeks led Las Vegas with 18 points, including a four-point play in the third quarter to help the Wildcats erase a four-point halftime deficit and lead by three points entering the final quarter.