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December 16, 2017

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Foothill sharpshooter Cox leads Falcons to win against Basic


Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Foothill basketball player Brannon Cresanto.

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Foothill High junior guard Greg Cox has the green light to shoot the basketball from 3-point range at any point in the game — even when the attempt goes against the basic strategy of the game.

Foothill held a 16-point lead Friday with less than three minutes to play against host Basic when the 5-foot-11 Cox found himself alone near the 3-point arch after the Falcons broke Basic’s full-court press.

Instead of waiting for teammates to join him in the attack or pulling back to run time off the clock, the left-handing shooting Cox let fly on a deep 3-pointer. The result, just like most of his shots Friday, was a nothing-but-net basket.

Cox had a game-high 19 points, including draining five 3-pointers, and the Falcons overcame a slow start for a 62-42 victory.

“I kind of wanted to put a dagger in,” Cox said. “I didn’t want to let them come back at all.”

Foothill only had two field goals in the first quarter in falling behind by as many as seven points early. But they closed the quarter on a 5-0 run, then got a trio of 3-pointers in the second quarter from Cox to lead 27-19 at halftime.

Cox hit consecutive 3-pointers in the final 73 seconds of the half, and Dakota Yamka keyed the rally with seven straight points in the quarter.

“He’s a good shooter. He works really hard at it,” Foothill coach Kevin Soares said. “There are other parts of the game we are trying to get him better at. But as long as he keeps knocking them down, I think we have a chance each game.”

Foothill (14-6) continued its dominance in the third quarter. The Falcons limited Basic to seven points in building their lead to double digits and improving to 6-1 in the Southeast Division.

The rough start and other signs of inconsistent play have been all too common this winter for Foothill, which lost last year in the Sunrise Regional championship game and is a perennial power in the Henderson-based Southeast.

Against Coronado two weeks ago in the Falcons lone league loss, they gave up 15 consecutive points to open the game.

“We have to grow up. Twenty games into the season, you can’t make the mistakes you made in the first game of the season,” Soares said. “We are getting there. We just have to get more consistent with playing hard. With this younger team, that is unfortunately what you run into.”

Basic’s record fell to 9-9 overall and 3-4 in the Southeast. The Wolves missed 15 foul shots and struggled finding rhythm offensively after the first quarter.

“In the middle of the game, we couldn’t get a shot,” Basic coach Steve Bentz said. “They took us out of our offense. That is what good defense is supposed to do.”

Coronado and Foothill appear to be locks for two of the Southeast’s four playoff spots. The final two spots can go to one of several teams, including Basic.

Vince Carducci had 11 points to lead Basic.

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