There’s a first time for everything.
Arcadia High School couldn’t be happier about it.
Saturday in Glendale the Titan boys basketball team punched their ticket to their first ever championship game holding off 11-seed Nogales 55-50 behind a strong second-half performance the guidance of a handful of seniors who saw their title dreams dashed in the quarterfinals last year.
“Last couple of days we talked about making history [Saturday],” Arcadia head coach Stephen Danford told Sports360AZ.com. “I’m just excited for the kids.”
Coming off a double-digit upset of second-seed Tucson Cholla on Thursday, the 10-seeded Titans struggled early against the Apaches’ zone defense and trailed 13-8 after one quarter and 23-22 at halftime.
“They were physical,” senior forward Connor Nichols explained. “We weren’t ready for that physicality. We pushed it out [on the break] and finished at the rim [in the second half].”
The momentum shifted in the third quarter as Nogales got sloppy with the ball which led to easy transition baskets for Jesus Bororquez and Matt Burton. Despite being out-rebounded 30-25 and making just 4-13 free throws Arcadia shot 52% from the floor and committed just eight turnovers.
“That experience last year with these seniors, that’s invaluable,” Danford said. “They’re the difference.”
Nichols tied game-high honors with 14 points and added a game-high 12 rebounds. Bojorquez added 12 and reserve guard Max Moses came up big with 10 points and a pair of assists.
The Titans will face fourth-seed Gilbert Christian in the title game on Monday at Gila River Arena.