Over the last two seasons, the Cholla boys basketball team has lost just two games on its home court.
The host Chargers made sure to keep it that way Thursday night.
Despite losing at Canyon del Oro by 24 points just three weeks ago, No. 13 Cholla never trailed in the first round of the Division II state tournament, and cruised to a 54-36 win over the 20th-seeded Dorados.
“The fans got me going and my teammates got me going,” said Cholla’s Lual Magot, who scored a game-high 15 points. “It’s real big, this is what we’ve been waiting for all this time. To have a home-court advantage is really big.”
Thanks to a trio of players who scored in double digits, Cholla (23-7) will travel to No. 4 Cienega on Saturday night with a chance to reach the state quarterfinals.
Junior captain Jorge Carrasco scored just two points in the first half, but hit back-to-back three-pointers within the first 90 seconds of the third quarter to extend Cholla’s lead to 17 points.
“We needed to score right out of the half because we knew they were going to pick it up,” Carrasco said.
“I was just looking for my shot after the half, because at the beginning I was off and couldn’t make a shot.”
Carrasco finished with 14 points, while fellow captain Luis Rodriguez scored 12. Six of the senior’s points came in the first four minutes of the game to give the Chargers a 10-3 lead.
“The night we lost to CDO, they played real well,” Cholla coach Masai Dean said. “They shot the ball well, they defended the ball well, and we didn’t.
“But tonight we came out and our kids executed the game plan the way we talked about in practice all week.”
Without the stellar play of senior John Jackson, there’s a chance CDO’s loss could have been worse. The 6-foot-4-inch center scored a team-high 14 points, nine of which came in the first quarter. It was his second-highest total this season.
“It was a good year overall, but there were four or five losses we shouldn’t have had,” CDO coach Kelan Williams said. “This was a loss that never should have happened.”