After eight days without playing, the Aztecs were able to defeat Mountain Ridge, 59-43, in the first round of the state playoffs.
“We did what we needed to do,” Head Coach Neil MacDonald said. “When we needed to pick up our defense in the second half we did. That made the difference.”
The Aztecs were trailing 21-16 with just two minutes before halftime, but the team finished the half on a 10-2 run to have a three-point advantage at the break.
“We switched up our defense,” MacDonald said on the late-quarter run. “We ended up getting some momentum. That was the hope and it worked out.”
Both teams never truly got into an offensive rhythm all night. The Aztecs were only three of 16 shooting 3-point shots throughout the game.
“You have to recognize in a close game when they are not going in and you have the ability to get to the rim, you need to get to the rim,” MacDonald said. “When you’re one for eight, one for nine, it is time to start getting to the rim. We have the ability to shoot the 3.”
The Aztecs came out swinging in the third quarter, pushing their lead to 11 at one point in the quarter.
Mountain Ridge wouldn’t go down without a fight keeping itself within striking distance before the Aztecs pulled away with about five minutes to go.
“Defense wins,” MacDonald said. “That is playoff basketball and that is important to remember.”
The Aztecs now get ready to take on Westview on Saturday in the quarterfinal matchup at Corona on Saturday night.
“We will start looking at them,” MacDonald said. “It is a team we have not played. We will work on what we do and try to become better than them at what they do.”