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Prep basketball: Canyon to defend home court

Cowboys will try and win own tournament versus Valencia

Posted: December 10, 2010 10:47 p.m.
Updated: December 11, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Canyon’s Coley Apsay (0) dribbles past Highland’s Milan Harrell on Friday during the Canyon Classic at Canyon High.

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It was only a matter of time for Canyon.

Stifling defense helped the Cowboys overcome an early scoring draught in their 49-40 win over Highland of Palmdale on Friday night in the Canyon Classic boys basketball semifinal game at Canyon High School.

Canyon not only overcame poor shooting, but had to play the first quarter without starting forward Darnel Haggerty, who was left out for disciplinary reasons.

Highland led 6-2 by the end of the frame.

"I told the guys ‘you survived,'" said Canyon head coach Chad Phillips of the first quarter. "From then on, we just fought."

The Cowboys (7-1) got going right way with Alek Golden's 3-pointer to open the second quarter.

With Haggerty back in the game, Canyon was able to find holes in Highland's zone defense and get more opportunities for second-chance points.

"We had lots of one-and-done's so we tried to move the ball around more and get some inside looks," said Canyon guard Coley Apsay, who had a game-high 25 points.

The Bulldogs (2-1) used 6-foot-6 center Aaron Jones and 6-foot 3 forward Dwayne Carter to continue putting pressure on Canyon's defense, leading to a 17-16 Highland advantage at halftime.

The Cowboys were 1-for-12 on 3-point attempts going into the break, a trend that changed in the third quarter when Apsay settled into a groove.

He scored seven points in the third to help Canyon take the lead as high as 37-25 with 1:30 to go in the period.

"We didn't use our size to our advantage at all tonight," said Highland head coach Jeff Smith. "We didn't get the ball inside as much as we should have, and that's just something we're going to have to get better at."

As a team, Canyon shot 34 percent for the game, but it was enough to beat a taller Highland lineup.

"We didn't want to shoot nearly the amount of threes we did," Phillips said. "When you're outsized, you have to try to get the ball to your big guys inside."

Early in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs started getting to the free-thrown line, which allowed them to close the gap to 37-35 with just over five minutes remaining.

Minutes later, Apsay took matters into his own hands, drove for a layup, drew a foul and completed a three-point play that put Canyon up 47-37 with 1:51 to play.

The win puts the Cowboys in the championship game against Valencia today at 6:30 p.m.




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