The Pinnacle Pioneers started fast and finished strong running away from Mountain Pointe 76-60 to claim the 6A Boys Championship Wednesday night inside Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe.
The victory not only served as a bit of revenge for the Pride’s lopsided win over the short-handed ‘Neers in late November, but helped long-time head coach Charlie Wilde claim his first state title at the school.
“It’s absolutely sweeter,” a water-soaked Wilde said after the game. “It’s tough to be [on the losing end]. I’ve been there before. It’s still a great season with great memories. That’s what it’s all about.”
— ‘NEER NATION (@PHSCrazies) March 1, 2018
Pinnacle’s talented backcourt of Nico Mannion and Spencer Rattler made sure their coach would hoist the championship trophy for the first time as they combined for 39 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.
Tweeted on 11/22 when the Pioneers were 0-3 to start the season and had just lost to Mtn. Pointe 81-45. https://t.co/lzbpheg8tP
— Pinnacle Basketball (@PinnacleBball) March 1, 2018
“They played us in the beginning of the year and beat us [badly],” the junior Rattler said. “I said we weren’t really tripping over that. We came out here and won by . It was cool.”
No one on the floor was cooler than the dynamic sophomore Mannion who dissected the Pride’s pressure defense as Pinnacle built a 15-point halftime lead and never trailed coming down the stretch.
“With the press,” Mannion explained. “When they have to cover the whole floor it makes it that much harder. It makes it easy for us to beat guys off the dribble and find open shots.”
PHS’s biggest advantage was behind the three-point line as they connected on 9-16, compared to Mountain Pointe’s 4-19 effort. The Pioneers also had more rebounds (40-33), assists (18-8) and steals (8-3).
You deserve it.