Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 | 10 p.m.
The third time was a charm for the Desert Pines boys basketball team on Saturday.
After falling twice to Cheyenne during the regular season by a combined five points, the Jaguars routed the Desert Shields 63-35 in the 3A Southern League Championship at Sunrise Mountain High School.
“I think we’re peaking at the right time,” Desert Pines coach Mike Uzan said. “A lot of our guys are football guys and it took them a while to get in the basketball rhythm this season.”
Trevon Abdullah-Booker led the way for the Jaguars with 16 points and eight rebounds. Jalen Graves added 13 points six rebounds and Capri Uzan also chipped in nine points to go with a team-high seven assists.
The Jaguars opened with a large lead and never looked back. Abdullah-Booker had six points and four rebounds in the opening quarter to build a 14-3 advantage. He added six more points in the opening three minutes of the second quarter and the Desert Shields led by 16 points at halftime.
“We played with a chip on our shoulder,” Abdullah-Booker said. “Especially after losing to them twice, we went out and did what we’re supposed to do today.”
Cheyenne, who made 27 percent of its shots, didn’t get much scoring from anyone besides senior guard D’Andre Houston, whose 13 points led the Desert Shields. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Houston and Kavon Williams late in the second quarter brought Cheyenne within 10 points with two minutes to play in the opening half.
But Uzan, Graves and Derrick Coleman added late baskets for Desert Pines before the end of the half.
Graves had eight of his 13 points in the third quarter, leading Desert Pines to a 50-27 lead by the quarter’s end. Both teams emptied their benches for most of the fourth quarter.
“This is the next step,” Abdullah-Booker said. “Last year we won regionals and we couldn’t take it all the way. We want the big one, the state championship.”
Both teams will advance to next week’s state tournament in Las Vegas.