By Daniel Dullum
Imagine Prep-Superstition won an entertaining, see-saw CAA Division III, Region 1 boys basketball contest on Jan. 11, as the Panthers held off visiting Queen Creek Canyon State Academy 68-64.
The Panthers improved to 6-1 on the season, handing the Rams their first defeat in seven games.
“We’ve been trying to preach just the little stuff,” Panthers Coach Travis Gordon said. “We’ve got a lot of talent, but it’s going to take the little stuff, the hustle plays, setting screens. They came out rebounding and really wanted this game.
“We controlled the boards (40 total rebounds), and I think that really helped us control the game, even though it was a nail-biter.”
The lead changed five times in the fourth quarter, before Tavares Broady’s layup with 11 seconds remaining put Imagine Prep ahead to stay at 65-64. A pair of free throws by Anthony Lerma extended the Panthers’ lead to 67-64 with :07.5 left.
Canyon State’s turnover on the ensuing inbound pass thwarted its final possession, and a Tavaras Broady free throw put IPS up by four with four seconds to play.
Tavaras Broady, a freshman guard, led Imagine Prep with 23 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals. Tavaras leads the Panthers with 19.4 points per game.
Senior Dallas Pina was next with 17 points, four steals and 10 boards while hitting 5-of-9 field goals.
Lerma, a senior forward, added 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting, 10 rebounds and two steals. Jorge Garcia collected six of the Panthers’ 18 assists.
“My freshmen are growing up,” Gordon said. “It took a while for them to get their feet up underneath them, not just Tavares. They’re all stepping up for me, they’re learning what they can do and they’re gaining confidence. It’ll be nice to see their progression the rest of the season and see how far they can go.”
Wasamga had a game-high 30 points for CSA.
“There’s no defense for good offense,” Gordon said. “As long as you’re in good position, you can challenge him and make him take a difficult shot. He’s a player. He hurt us.”
“The guys are growing, it’s a long season, a grind,” Gordon said. “They’re grinding. We’re just trying to get them better. I’m starting to see the progress and development I always thought we had.
“Now, we just have to keep doing it the right way.”
On Tuesday, the Panthers travel to American Leadership Academy-Gilbert, and return home on Friday, Jan. 19 to host Heritage-Laveen.