After Glendale Mountain Ridge had one final run to reduce the score to 55-52 with about four minutes remaining on Monday, Chandler Hamilton coach Doug Harris called the time out.
The message was simple:
Let 6-foot-4 senior guard Quincy Adams take over.
Adams landed a blocked shot and then scored seven straight runs, leading the Huskies to a 68-55 first-round victory in the McClintock Holiday Basketball Shootout at McClintock.
“I’m taking energy so that we can finish close games like this,” said Adams, who finished with 28 points and eight rebounds.
Adams took a big step forward with his family before his senior year, leaving Wakeland High School in Frisco, Texas, where he was an emerging star.
He said his family is in Chandler and he wanted to be here.
For Harris, it was a blessing to have someone to close the games.
Adams has the ability to score from the 3-point arc and lead inside with a series of powerful moves, often reaching the free throw line as defenders converge on him to try and stop him.
“He’s an exceptional athlete,” said Harris. “He’s growing up in his role on this team. He’s definitely one of the most athletic guys I’ve ever coached.
“It’s something we’ve never had. He can get you a bucket when you need it.”
Adams is leading a trio of transfers that could make them the best team Harris has had since moving to Hamilton from Phoenix Desert Vista.
Adams was the only transfer eligible to start the season.
Junior guard AJ Turner and 6-7 junior forward Mikey DeHorney had to be absent for the first half of the season due to Arizona Interscholastic Association transfer rules. As this was Adams’ first transfer and because he had never played in AIA before, he was immediately eligible.
Turner came from Gilbert San Tan Charter.
DeHorney, who transferred from Tempe Corona del Sol, had 18 points, eight rebounds and four blocks on his season debut on Monday.
A fourth transfer, also from Corona del Sol, will only play in January due to an injury.
It’s too early to say Hamilton is one of the top contenders for the 6A Championship, but by the end of February it could be a scary squad.
“It’s going to take a while to freeze,” Harris said. “That’s why we are coming into this tournament to get a few games under our belt before facing our difficult region.”
Hamilton (11-2) plays in the Premier region which includes Gilbert Perry, Phoenix Brophy Prep and a much improved Chandler Basha team.
It looks like the toughest 6A region in the state.
Once DeHorney gets used to playing with Adams and the rest of the players, Hamilton has the ability to hang out with anyone in PM, even with the length of time imposed by Perry and Brophy Prep.
“Talent wise, yeah,” Harris said when asked if he could be one of his best teams. “But the chemistry and the execution, we’ve got a lot of work to do. A lot of work to do.”
Mountain Ridge (7-6) pulled the ball well early and led most of the first half, behind senior guards Logan Hopkins and Anthony Kanagh.
Hopkins, who averaged 15 points last season, scored three to 3 in the third quarter and Kanagh sank a well-contested 3 to complete the third quarter and reduce the Huskies’ lead to 47-45.
Adams, a left-handed shooter who averaged 12 points as a junior at Wakeland near Dallas, scored on two shots early in the last quarter. He had 13 points in the fourth quarter.
“It’s a little more physical,” Adams said of the style of basketball played in Texas versus Arizona. “I think it’s just that people are bigger. But that’s not that big of a difference. There are also some great guys here.”
Hamilton qualifies for the quarter-finals on Tuesday at 4 p.m. to face Scottsdale Desert Mountain, a 66-51 winner over Phoenix Desert Vista.
In a first first[-round game Monday, Glendale Ironwood got a put-back from 6-5 junior forward Julius Williams with 1:17 to play, which would be enough to beat Chandler Basha 62-61.
Basha cleared a basket with 30 seconds left when a charge was called.
Ironwood (9-4) will face Gilbert Highland at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the quarterfinals.
“Basha is one of the best teams in the whole state,” said Ironwood coach Jordan Augustine. “My guys have grown up in front of my eyes here.
“We’re very, very young. And we showed that in spurts today, and we did enough against a very mature and very talented Basha side.”
One of Ironwood’s losses came to defending 6A champion Phoenix Sunnyslope, 58-51, in November. The Eagles, who won the 5A Championship two years ago, also lost to 5A Goodyear Millennium in overtime 73-68 and Phoenix North Canyon 72-71 in overtime.
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