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Prep basketball: Canyon does just enough

Canyon holds off St. Genevieve in tournament victory

Posted: December 7, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: December 7, 2012 2:00 a.m.

St. Genevieve's Mark Chin, left, tries to reach in for a rebound caught by Canyon's Dean Hendrix-Davis, right, on Thursday night at Canyon. The Cowboys won 67-57.

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There was a weird rhythm in this one.

Yes, Canyon boys basketball was up from start to finish, but the Cowboys had to hang on to defeat St. Genevieve of Panorama City 67-57 on the second day of the Canyon Classic tournament at Canyon High School.

“I couldn’t even get in rhythm,” joked Canyon head coach Sean DeLong.

A big reason for the Cowboys’ victory was a hefty lead in the first half that allowed them to survive the Valiants’ length and second-half defensive adjustment.

Canyon (5-1) shot out of the gate with a 12-0 lead in the game’s first four minutes and built an 18-9 lead after the first quarter.

The Cowboys took advantage of the Valiants’ man-to-man defense throughout the first half and were able to free themselves beyond the 3-point line.

Canyon got in a comfort zone from the outside and hit five 3-pointers in the first half, with four coming off the fingertips of sophomore guard Ben Taufahema.

The lead ballooned to 42-20 by halftime, with the Cowboys hitting 15-of-31 shots in the first half.

It wasn’t as if St. Genevieve (1-1) didn’t have opportunities.

The Valiants’ slashing style got them to the basket frequently, but they couldn’t cash in a number of tries.

They hit just 7-of-28 shots in the first half.

Any rhythm the Cowboys had in the first half was gone immediately in the second.

The Valiants switched to a zone, which disrupted the Canyon offense. But the Cowboys were also careless with the ball.

Canyon turned the ball over 11 times in the third quarter, and while the Valiants didn’t pounce on the mistakes right away, they eventually started to turn the Canyon miscues into points.

Quick guard Mark Chin slashed his way to the basket and helped lead the Valiants back.

He scored 20 of his game-high 26 points in the second half — 10 points in each quarter.

In the third quarter, Canyon was putting up less shots as a result of the turnovers and the lead shrunk to 53-39 going into the fourth.

“We sort of came out in the second half like it was an easy game. But we had to battle to the end,” said Canyon guard Marc Cabrera, who scored 16 points in the game on 6-of-9 shooting.

Canyon turned up the volume on defense at the start of the fourth quarter and built the lead back up to 57-39 with a Cabrera layup.

But St. Genevieve answered with a 13-0 run to cut the advantage down to 57-52 with 3:07 to play.

Valiant Jared Allen helped lead that charge with seven of his nine points in the fourth quarter.

But Canyon survived the scare, as St. Genevieve lost its offensive flow.

“Missed layups and missed free throws. That’s the game,” said St. Genevieve head coach Sean Collyer.

The Valiants were 10-of-22 from the free-throw line.

Taufahema led the Cowboys with 19 points and eight Canyon players scored in the game.

Canyon plays Grant tonight at 7:30 with a chance to advance to the championship game of its own tournament.

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