Bayer Knocks Down 11 3-Pointers in Rout of Combs
By Daniel Dullum
Long-distance shooters Trevor Bayer and Evan Quiroz of Apache Junction are establishing a reputation of becoming 4A boys basketball’s version of The Splash Brothers.
Quiroz is in a three-way tie for sixth place in the state for 3-pointers made with 61. Bayer is ninth with 59. In 4A, Quiroz and Bayer are 1-2 on the 3-point chart.
On Jan. 16, Bayer established an AJHS record with 11 3s in the Prospectors’ 85-20 Black Canyon Region romp over San Tan Valley Combs. Bayer hit six of his 3s in the Prospectors’ 40-point third quarter and finished with a game-high 36 points.
“That was crazy!” Bayer said. “It’s so fun. Obviously the crowd loves it, if you make a 3, it’s like if you dunk.”
Quiroz added, “Coach sent us a photo of the 3-point rankings, so we’ve been texting all day about who would be first. Trevor definitely passed me though. It’s a bummer, but I’ll get back at him!
“That was crazy to watch – getting 11 3s,” he continued. “We’re playing together real well now. We’re unselfish, our passes are crisp. We hang out all the time. It’s really clicked at the right time.”
While the 3-point arc is a comfort zone for Quiroz and Bayer, the free throw line is another matter. AJ was 4-of-11 at the charity stripe against Combs.
Asked if it would help if the foul line were moved back six feet, Bayer said, “I joke about that because for me, the 3 is my layup.”
Quiroz said, “Honestly, it might! I know I feel better when I shoot a 3 than a free throw.”
Prospectors forward Brigham Milkey calls it “crazy fun” to watch his teammates dialing long distance. “We feed them the ball when we can. When I get going early, it’s to penetrate and kick it out to those guys to knock down their shots. When I get going, they get going eventually.
“When Trevor got to his seventh or eighth 3, you could see something special was happening. We wanted him to get the school record. It was special being on the court.”
Prospectors Coach Scott Stansberry pointed out that Quiroz and Bayer haven’t done it alone, saying, “One thing that’s been going unnoticed is Jimari Grayson. He creates a lot of shots for them. He’s a freshman learning a new system.
“And we’ve got Brigham (Milkey) who can knock shots down and Khadar (Sheikh) with a presence down low. We’re hard to guard right now.”
AJ led 34-8 at halftime after the Coyotes opened the game with a 5-0 run. Combs didn’t hit double-digits until Wyatt Larson made a 3-pointer with 6:15 left in the third quarter.
“Every once in a while, we come out slow,” Bayer said. “Once they scored five points, Coach told us that defensively, ‘no points.’ We locked in and held them.”
Evan Quiroz made four 3-pointers and finished with 18 points, followed by Brigham Milkey and Jimari Grayson with 10 points each.
Stansberry said the Prospectors were seeking revenge for last season’s loss to their nearby rival.
“Last year, they beat us on our Senior Night by 30 and spit on our floor,” Stansberry said. “The guys remembered that. They were looking forward to this game. It was circled on the seniors and juniors’ calendar.”
“Our mission was to blow them out – no mercy,” Quiroz said. “That was achieved very well.”
Apache Junction’s quest for a 4A playoff berth hit a speed bump on Jan. 18 at the AJHS gym, dropping a 57-45 Black Canyon Region decision to Phoenix Washington.
“They beat us, that simple,” Stansberry said. “They went to the rim at will against us. There was nothing we could do.”
When the Rams went on a 10-point run to break a 39-39 tie at 3:00 of the third quarter, Stansberry felt that was the key.
“We had the momentum and they got it back,” he said.
A driving layup by Quiroz with 1:42 pulled the Prospectors to within 53-45 with 1:42 to play, but the Rams’ Orlando Moore scored seven of his game-high 18 points in the last four minutes.
Quiroz led AJ with 16 points, followed by Milkey with nine and Sheikh with eight. Bayer was held to five first-quarter points.
“(Washington) did a good job of closing down on us,” Stansberry said. “They didn’t give us any space. We tried to run Trevor off some screens, but they covered really fast.”
As of Jan. 20, the Prospectors (8-15 overall, 4-2 region) are ranked No. 28 in the latest AIA 4A Power Poll, third place in the Black Canyon Region race behind Dysart and Washington.