GLENDALE — Cienega High School might look like a ghost town this afternoon.
Roughly 18 hours after the school’s girls basketball team advanced to the state semifinals for the first time, the boys team followed suit with a 62-54 win over No. 12 Gilbert Christian in the Division II state quarterfinals on Wednesday.
“It’s just great that both teams are going,” said senior point guard Shane Burton, who scored a game-high 20 points. “It’s not like it’s a competition with them, but we both want it so badly that we’re kind of competing for it.”
With the win, both squads will be playing today at Jobing.com Arena, trying to make it to Saturday’s state championship games.
Cienega boys will go for their 12th straight win when they play No. 8 Phoenix Shadow Mountain at 7:45 p.m., while the third-seeded girls will take on No. 10 Scottsdale Saguaro at 2:30 p.m.
“We’re going to have our cheerleaders coming up tomorrow to support both teams,” Cienega coach Matt Johnson said. “Hopefully a good amount of people in Vail can take the day off.”
Cienega (25-5) led by 10 at halftime and by as much as 17 in the third quarter Wednesday, but Gilbert Christian made seven three-pointers to close it to 52-49 with 2:43 to play.
That was as close as the Knights would get, though.
Burton, who also had six rebounds and four assists, hit all six of his free-throw attempts in the final three minutes to help ice it. Fellow senior Shawn Vassell sank 3 of 4 foul shots in the fourth quarter, finishing with 12 points.
“Free throws were huge, especially when a team heats up like Gilbert Christian did,” Burton said. “They didn’t really come out shooting as well as we thought they would in the first half, but the second half they shot pretty well.”
Cienega got on the board when Burton set up junior Daren Biggs on an alley-oop dunk that started a 10-2 run. After falling behind again, Vassell drained a three-pointer at the end of the quarter to put Cienega up 15-14. The Bobcats never trailed again.
“It gets the jitters out of our team, and just gets us going,” said Biggs, who finished with 12 points and nine rebounds. “Our coach knows how to get us going. He called that play.”