2/24/2013 6:00:00 AM Tigers stun Phoenix West, reach finals
Kingman Academy’s Lance Martin reacts in the final seconds of the Tigers’ 68-58 upset win over top seed West Phoenix Friday night in the semifinal round of the 3A Charter Athletic Association State Tournament at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix. RODNEY HAAS/Miner
Kingman Academy’s Henry Chinyere drives to the hoop in the second half of the Tigers’ 68-58 win against West Phoenix Friday night at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix. Chinyere led the Tigers with 20 points and hit some clutch free throws in the final minutes as KAHS went on a 20-8 run to close the game out. The fifth seeded Tigers played the third seeded NFL Yet in Saturday’s championship game. RODNEY HAAS/Miner
PHOENIX - The open gyms during the summer and the 5:30 early morning workouts paid off for Kingman Academy Friday night in the semifinal round of the State 3A Charter Athletic Association Tournament.
Led by Henry Chinyere's 20 points, including clutch free throws down the stretch, the fifth-seeded Tigers shocked top seed West Phoenix 68-58 at South Mountain Community College to earn a trip to Saturday's title game with NFL YET, the No. 3 seed.
"All the hard work is paying off," Chinyere said. "We've been working all summer and this is where we were planning on going. We got there."
After Wednesday's 49-44 win over Metro Tech, coach Bryant Morrison said the key was to box out and limit West Phoenix to one shot per position. It was something the Tigers did very well Friday.
"We definitely followed the game plan. We didn't let them transition and we played one heck of a game," Morrison said. "Henry came to play today. He did awesome. That's what I see in practice all the time and I guess it took the playoffs to finally get it out of him."
West Phoenix led 19-13 after the first quarter and held a 32-20 lead at halftime. In the second half, Johnny Herrero hit a pair of free throws late in the third quarter to give the Tigers a 43-41 lead heading into the fourth. There, KAHS (21-6) went on a 20-8 run in the final three minutes to put the game out of reach.
"A lot of their good players fouled out and that's when we were able to take the lead and capitalize on that," Chinyere said.
Tarik Skubal had 17 points for the Tigers while Herrero added eight and Lance Martin had seven.
Saturday's title game ended after this edition of the Miner went to press. The Tigers beat NFL YET on Jan. 15 in Phoenix, 56-55.
The Kingman Academy girls couldn't find the same magic at state. Their season came to an end Thursday night with a 46-21 loss to the second seed EVAC in the semifinal round of the 3A CAA Tournament.