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Sharpshooters roll

Cowboys cruise to second convincing win

Posted: December 11, 2008 10:13 p.m.
Updated: December 12, 2008 4:55 a.m.

Canyon High's Jon Lawson (50), who helped the Cowboys break out in the second quarter with a 22-8 lead over Highland High, gets two points here over Highland defender Maurice Hale (20) on Thursday night at Canyon.

 
Canyon pressures the basketball everywhere on the court – and the strategy is even more effective when the opponent is out of control in the first place.

The Cowboys made life miserable for the athletic but undisciplined Highland of Palmdale in a 79-51 victory Thursday night at the Canyon Classic, their second convincing win in as many nights.

“Of course, we want to always force tempo,” said Canyon head coach Chad Phillips. “So what we wanted them to do was force every shot, and we did that with our defensive pressure.”

It seemed like an adventure every time the Bulldogs (2-4) tried to bring the ball across the timeline, and once they did, only one or two passes came before a shot, if that many.

Meanwhile, Canyon (3-1) feasted on the turnovers by either setting up their offense quickly or converting easy baskets in the transition game, both of which helped set up the pressure defense.

Mike Edwards led the Cowboys with 19 points, and Brandon Perry added 11, including a dunk that brought most people in the gym to their feet.

“It felt pretty good,” he said. “It gets the crowd up.”

But Perry credited his teammates for giving him the opportunity to be so effective.

“Our guards in front did a good job to make (Highland) come out of control and let us get easy rebounds and go to the other side and try to score,” he said. “I think the tempo was good, it was in our favor.”

Occasionally, the Cowboys got sucked into Highland’s breakneck tempo and threw caution to the wind, during which time the Bulldogs forced turnovers of their own and countered the other way.

In general, however, Canyon came out fired up, and coach Phillips knows that attitude is critical.

“I think we came out more intense tonight than we did (Wednesday),” he said, “and obviously it’s a growing process throughout the year.”

For Highland coach Jeff Smith, the growing process begins with playing teams like Canyon.

“We’re trying to get where they’re at, and that’s our goal,” he said. “We have a lot to work on, but I saw some very good things out of us tonight.”

Once the Cowboys broke open the game, the reserves saw valuable minutes that Phillips said will help them moving forward.

“The guys that are on the floor at the end, I give a lot of credit too,” he said, “because most of the time, they’re the scout team. They need to play to get better.”

Canyon will face high-powered Lancaster at 7:30 p.m. today as the Canyon Classic continues.

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