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Arington's 41 points power Shadow Ridge past Willow Canyon in OT

Posted 12/18/21

It was a night of basketball so good Luke Arington dared not dream of it.

The Shadow Ridge senior guard had a career performance Dec. 14 in front of his home crowd and neighborhood rival Willow …

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Arington's 41 points power Shadow Ridge past Willow Canyon in OT


It was a night of basketball so good Luke Arington dared not dream of it.

The Shadow Ridge senior guard had a career performance Dec. 14 in front of his home crowd and neighborhood rival Willow Canyon in overtime.

Arington sent the game into the extra period by sinking a 25-foot three-point shot with five seconds left to tie the game at 61. He and the Stallions  dominated overtime, winning 76-66, as Arington finished with 41 points

"We did not want to lose two in a row like this, especially at home," Arington said. "That shot, I was thinking to myself, 'Am I really going to hit two in a row out here? Are they going to double me? I saw a little opening and there was only a few seconds left so I had to let it fly. This is my favorite game in high school by far. Especially after COVID last year and the crowd being really dead."

Before his game-tying shot, Arington made an even more crucial play. With 37.6 seconds left in regulation and Shadow Ridge trailing by two he drew the fifth foul on Willow Canyon senior wing David Bright.

At this point, Bright was his team's leading scorer with 21 points and had 10 rebounds. Playing overtime without him and senior guard Bryce Hanson - who fouled out two minutes earlier - compromised the Wildcats.

"Losing two starters from tonights game and being down two more starters with injuries is really tough. Aidan Carino got injured last night and Xavier Vaughn has been out the last three games and got hurt early in the Carl Hayden game," Willow Canyon coach Joseph Colletti said. "For us to go 3-1 with a really key piece injured and having Aidan get hurt last night  and having the other two guys foul out, that's going through your head. But to be honest, they just made a couple extra plays."

Both teams played an overtime game the night before, Willow Canyon (7-3) winning 78-74 at Cave Creek Cactus Shadows, while Shadow Ridge lost 62-59 at home to Mesa Desert Ridge.

Shadow Ridge (5-1) may have experienced flashbacks when Willow Canyon senior guard hit a three to give the visitors a 61-58 lead  with 15.8 seconds left. But the Stallions went back to their top shooter.

"It was a set play and he made a good read off it and had a great shot," Shadow Ridge coach Robert Bohon said. "Last night we had the same look and it rimmed out."

The near loss and rivalry game fueled the home team early, as Bohon's squad built an 11-2 lead and rebuilt it to 29-20 in the second quarter.

Colletti said he was proud of his team's effort to battle back to a 34-28 deficit at halftime and 46-44 after three.

"I don't know that we played really well in the first half and to only be down six, you like that," Colletti said. 

Four free throws by Bright and a bucket by freshman Keleel Kelly build a 54-49 Wildcats lead early in the fourth.

Arrington responded with a personal 7-0 run to regain a 56-54 advantage.

"I've been watching for three years and kind of learned at times late in games you have to step up, especially when the other guys on the team are hitting you. My teammates were creating well for me, so I might as well hit it," Arington said.

Tancil sent Willow Canyon into overtime and finihed tied with Bright with 21 points. But the Stallions sent an extra defender after him almost all night, remembering Tancil's 27 points in a 77-60 Willow Canyon win last season.

This year Tancil adusted its game and had eight assists, but the Stallions' defensive philosophy led to a 7-23 shooting night for the Willow Canyon star.

"He lit us up last year, put up 30 on us last year. He's a very good player and hit that three down the stretch. We just tried to stay in front of him as best we could," Bohon said.

Junior guard Ahston Catlett (13 points) and senior guard Ja.Mir Denson (11 points) kept the Stallions offense from being too predictable.

But this was Arington's night, and he scored from long range, on the drive and at the line.

"Luke played his tail off. Being in Surprise five years now I've gotten to see all these kids grow up, Luke's been in our gym working out and Pike's probably been in this gym, probably, working out," Colletti said. "Luke's a bright kid and I wish him nothing but the best. To be honest I think there were a lot of screens that were really, really tough to fight through."

Bohon said this veteran group has been together, most of them, for four years. It is a similar team to last year and has a lot of chemistry and persevereance.

They also realize when their leading scorer has a hot hand.

"When Luke came here three years ago he was a guy who would stand in the corner and shoot threes all the time. Now he's diversifying his game. He's a good rebounder and playing all around good basketball. It's good to watch because he's put a lot of work into this."