2/2/2010 2:34:00 PM Phantoms finish regular season in third place Team looks forward to the regional tournament
Andrew Araiza goes strong to the basket against Fredonia.
By Silas Aiken Special to the Grand Canyon News
GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - The first place Beaver Dam Diamondbacks have yet to be beaten in conference play this year. The Phantoms were hoping to change that with a "slow-down" approach to the game on Friday. The Phantoms were able to stay with the Diamondbacks for most of the first half, but ran out of gas down the stretch. Diamondbacks' pesky defense and team speed proved to be too much for the Phantoms. By the middle of the third quarter the Phantoms found themselves down by 17 points. They were able to battle back to cut the lead to 10 in the fourth quarter, but it was too little too late. Jared Rulye led the team with 10 points.
With all chances of capturing second place in the 1A West Conference gone, the game on Saturday against Fredonia loomed critical as the winner would clinch third place in the 1A West Conference. The Phantoms came out determined as they took a 17-12 halftime lead. The Lynx fought back and actually cut the lead to one in the fourth quarter, but big shots by Jared Ruyle, Andrew Araiza, and Daniel Celis down the stretch sealed the victory. Ruyle had his best game of the season with 14 points.
Coach Walker said, "It was a really fun game. I'm really proud of these guys because they don't quit."
Depending on the outcome of other games, the Phantoms will likely play in the first round of the regional tournament against St. Michaels, who is expected to be the number two seed from the 1A East Conference. The 1A North Region Tournament will be held in Williams Feb. 5-6. Four out of the eight teams will qualify for the state tournament from the 1A North Region. The first round of the tournament is especially important as a win automatically qualifies a team for the state tournament. The Phantoms finished the regular season 4-16 overall and 4-4 in conference play.