Aztecs lose to Sunnyslope in quarterfinals, ending their run for a five-peat

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Photo by Maria Martin

Written by Jake Pyatt, Sports Editor

Boy’s basketball had its hopes of winning a fifth consecutive state championship spoiled Wednesday night after falling to Sunnyslope, 61-53, in the quarterfinals of playoffs.

The Aztecs were without their second leading scorer Saben Lee who was out with the flu.

“We weren’t very optimistic he could play,” head coach Neil MacDonald said. “There’s no way he could’ve taken the floor. He didn’t have enough energy.”

Without Lee, the Aztecs had to find a way to adjust to their new starting lineup and fill his presence on the court.

“With Saben out, we had to step up and make more plays,” senior Tyrell Henderson said. “I think we did a pretty good job, we played good defense and we just didn’t make enough shots.”

The Aztecs went into the half only down by two, but were shooting 27 percent from the field. The Aztecs only had three players who scored in the first half.

“I think we didn’t shoot as well and (we had) a lack of size,” Henderson said. “We weren’t really big.”

The Sunnyslope defense prohibited the Aztecs from converting.

“They (Sunnyslope) defend like crazy,” MacDonald said. “We had our chances and we didn’t make our shots.”

Sunnyslope went on a run late in the third quarter to gain of momentum heading into the final period of play after a three to beat the buzzer giving the Vikings a seven-point lead.

The Aztecs were down by 10 at one point in the fourth and found themselves down by eight with less than a minute to go. Although the game was seemingly out of reach for the Aztecs, Sunnyslope could not ice the game with free throws. Junior Dalen Dorsey hit a three to cut it to a four-point game with 23 seconds left to give the Aztecs some hope. But there was not enough time to complete the comeback.

“We knew Sunnyslope was coming but no one really believed us,” MacDonald said. “They are very disciplined and we knew how hard they play. If we are going to lose, we want to lose to a team like that.”