Gilbert loses 20-point lead, but rallies to beat
McClintock in OT to advance to 5A final
February 24, 2022 by Richard Obert, AZ Republic
Gilbert's large gym was overflow. The noise ear-splitting.
And the pace frenetic.
Just when it appeared Gilbert was going to blow away from Tempe
McClintock, the Chargers made a huge run to erase a 20-point deficit and
send the 5A boys basketball semifinal into overtime.
Then, as Gilbert has done all season in close games, it got the ball into
the hands of guards Nikko Pentelute, KJ Perry and Isaiah Bronson to close
Knocking down 8 of 9 free throws in the final 2:01 of OT, Gilbert put away
third-seed McClintock 81-76 Thursday night to advance to next Tuesday's
state championship game against Peoria Centennial at Arizona Veterans
"It was crazy,"
said Penelute, who turned into the team's biggest cheerleader on the bench
with two fouls in the first four minutes of the game, as the Tigers built
a 20-point lead. "I kept telling my team, 'Stay in and stay in, stay level
headed. We're not going home tonight.' "
Trailing 40-20 with 1:55 left in the first half, McClintock remembered how
it jumped out to a big lead over Gilbert in the McClintock Holiday
Shootout, before Gilbert climbed out of a hole and ended up winning 77-74
Why couldn't McClintock do the same thing at Gilbert?
Point guard Davion Butler, who missed the second half of the season with a
shoulder injury before returning in Tuesday's 64-61 quarterfinal win over
Millennium, making clutch plays at the end.
Butler hit two 3-pointers, Erenzo Scroggins scored on a breakaway dunk
after a steal, Jaylen Wesley went strong to the basket for two and
suddenly it was 46-37.
McClintock cut it to 55-50 heading into the final quarter after Butler hit
a 3 and Wesley knocked down two 3s in the final minute.
Gilbert seemed back in control with a 66-58 lead after Perry scored on a
pullup jumper with 4:11 left.
Wesley's three-point play with 2:15 to play cut Gilbert's lead to 66-63.
After two free throws by Bronson gave Gilbert a six-point lead, Wesley and
Pascal Volz knocked down 3s in the final 1:12 to send the game into OT.
McClintock took the lead in OT on Volz's 3-point play.
But Perry responded with a three-point play. McClintock managed only four
points, all by Volz, in the final 48 seconds, as Bronson made all four of
his free-throw attempts, and Pentelute hit two free throws, and Perry
swished in a free throw to seal the win.
Wesley, who had 19 points, fouled out in the final minute, along with
Scroggins, who had 20 points. Volz finished with 20 points.
"We fought hard," Wesley said. "It just didn't turn our way in the end."
Gilbert center Reed Shuey with his rebounding and ability to find open
teammates on back-door plays under the basket was instrumental in building
the 20-point lead, along with Shade Kerr.
Kerr replaced Pentelupe and scored eight points in the second quarter.
"We tried to slow the game down, get it into our big guy, be really strong
with the ball, and get back on defense," Kerr said. "That was our main
Petelupe said he knew McClintock would make a run.
"We did it to them, there was no reason they wouldn't do it to us," he
said. "Just keep going. That's our mentality all year.
"We played a lot of close games. We know how to close. Our point guard
Isaiah, our team took care of the ball at the end."
Shuey said he expected another thriller against McClintock.
"The first time we played them, they were tough then, and I didn't expect
anything less," Shuey said.
Shuey said it felt like a state championship game with the standing-room
"I've never seen this gym packed out like this before, so, yeah, it did
feel that way," Shuey said. "But we've got one more to go."
Congrats to the following Tigers and their San Tan Region
Coach of the Year (COY)
Player of the Year
- Nikko Pentelute
- KJ Perry
- Reed Shuey
- Landon LaMancusa
- Shade Kerr
- Eli Johnson
Higley win-streak ends vs. Gilbert
January 10, 2022 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365
winning streak ended while another continued Monday night as Higley and
Gilbert engaged in a 5A San Tan Region game at Gilbert High.
Gilbert got cooking in the second quarter to open up a double-digit lead
by halftime and kept that margin most of the second half in defeating
Gilbert's victory snapped Higley's 10-game winning streak. The Tigers
pulled off their sixth win in a row, a streak that began with four wins
and the title of the McClintock Holiday Shootout Dec. 27-30. Gilbert
improved its overall record to 17-2 and is 1-0 in region. Higley (12-3,
1-1) hadn't lost since Nov. 27 when it played in the Phoenix Union
District Invite to begin the season.
A slow start to the game saw Gilbert trail 2 1/2 minutes in, 8-2. The
Tigers battled back with six players scoring in the first quarter for an
11-10 advantage. The second quarter was Gilbert's best as it outscored
Higley, 18-8. That same scoring balance continued with Nikko Pentelute,
Reed Shuey and KJ Perry netting four points apiece. Elijah Johnson and
Tyler Lubash each sank a three as the Tigers gained firm control at 29-18.
Higley made a brief bid at a comeback early in the third period by scoring
the quarter's first five points to trim the deficit to six. A pair of
threes by Johnson helped Gilbert push the lead back comfortably to 41-27
with the final quarter to play. Higley couldn't make much headway, paring
Gilbert's lead under briefly at 41-33 with 5:30 to go.
Gilbert had five players score between 12 and 7 points. Johnson led with
12 (four threes), Pentelute and Shuey were next with 10 and Perry and
Isaiah Bronson chipped in with seven apiece. Yarell Greer topped Higley in
scoring with 11 points, followed by Kameron Bender with 10 and Sunny
Xepera with eight.
Gilbert claims McClintock Shootout crown
December 30, 2021 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365
invitationals in the 2021-2022 season. Two first-place trophies for
Gilbert's boys basketball team.
The Tigers added the McClintock Holiday Shootout to their triumphs on
Thursday night. They knocked off Hamilton, 48-42, in the tourney final at
Gilbert was led by seniors Nikko Pentelute and Reed Shuey, both of whom
earned all-tournament honors. Pentelute was accorded tournament Most
Valuable Player recognition. Gilbert also won its own Welcome to the
Jungle Invite during the Thanksgiving break. The Tigers are 15-2 for the
season and Hamilton is 14-3.
Pentelute led all scorers Thursday in the title game with 21 points. All
his points came via threes (five) or free throws (6 of 6). All six free
throws were tallied in the final 42 seconds as Hamilton opted to foul to
get the ball back trailing, 41-39, with 45 seconds to go. Shuey added 14
points, doing his usual scoring in the paint.
Hamilton trailed virtually the entire game and by as many as eight points
(35-27) late in the third period. The Huskies entered the final quarter
down 37-34 and managed one brief lead in the fourth, 38-37. They scored
back-to-back baskets (Daimon Denning and Jalen Lee) for that advantage
that lasted 25 seconds. Shuey scored his final basket of the night with
5:27 to go and the Tigers were never headed again.
All-tournament selection Quincy Adams paced Hamilton with 16 points, all
of those in the first three quarters. Adams fouled out with 1:09 to play
after picking up four consecutive fouls trying to get Gilbert to the
free-throw line. Daimon Denning also scored in double figures for the
Huskies with 15 points.
Six players comprised the all-tournament team announced after the title
game. Joining Pentelute, Shuey and Adams were Apollo's Ahamed Mohamed,
Basha's Torin Bosch and McClintock's Jaylen Wesley.
In the other games played on Day 4 in the Shootout, the host Chargers
claimed fifth place with an 88-65 win over Highland. Basha defeated Mesa
High, 66-42, for the consolation title and Apollo bested Ironwood, 60-41,
for third place.
Gilbert advances to Shootout final
December 29, 2021 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365
Gilbert High and Hamilton earned their way to the title
game of the McClintock Holiday Shootout on Wednesday night with tight
victories over Apollo and Ironwood, respectively.
Nikko Pentelute's three-point play with one second left lifted Gilbert
past Apollo, 60-59. Hamilton outscored Ironwood, 17-6, in the third
quarter to erase a halftime deficit in a 45-39 triumph over Ironwood at
Gilbert and Hamilton bring 14-2 records to Thursday's 7 p.m. championship
game at Doc Zinke Gymnasium. Apollo and Ironwood square off at 5:30 for
third place. Highland and McClintock meet at 2:30 p.m. for fifth place and
Basha and Mesa High battle for the consolation title at 4 p.m. on the
tourney's final day.
Gilbert trailed Apollo 32-14 at halftime and put itself back in the game
by cutting the deficit in half (42-33) heading to the final period.
Seniors Pentelute and Reed Shuey spearheaded the comeback. Both players
were scoreless at halftime. They rebounded scoring 29 of the Tigers 46
second-half points. Pentelute finished with 16 points to lead Gilbert,
Shuey added 13 and KJ Perry chipped in with 14 - 10 of his points in the
It was an uphill battle all the way for Gilbert, which tied the game 3-3
in the first quarter and never led until the game's final basket. Gilbert
trailed by 11 with seven minutes left in the game.
The Tigers tied it one other time (57-all) in the final 30 seconds on a
Perry basket. Apollo standout Ahamed Mohamed's two free throws with eight
seconds left put the Hawks up two, but Pentelute followed with the game
winner. Apollo fired up a desperation shot at the buzzer to no avail.
Mohamed led all scorers with 23 points. Teammates Bobby Holcomb (11
points) and Joshon Person (10 points) joined Mohamed in double figures.
Gilbert rallies in 4th to top McClintock
December 28, 2021 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365
Making free throws is always critical from the opening tip
to the final buzzer. Gilbert High was the victor in that department
Tuesday night and it helped the Tigers defeat host McClintock at its
Gilbert sank 6 of 6 free throws in the final minute and 11 of 12 in the
fourth quarter allowing the Tigers to rally past McClintock, 77-74.
Gilbert (13-2) trailed 59-55 heading to the final period. They gradually
pecked away at the four-point deficit and took the lead for good, 71-70
with 2:28 to play as the Tigers Nikko Pentelute made one of two free
throws. McClintock's PJ Volz missed two free throws with 1:10 to go, but
Gilbert responded with four free throws off the bench from Isaiah Bronson
sandwiched around two by Pentelute.
Bronson's last two tosses pushed Gilbert's advantage to 77-74 with 10.9
seconds left. McClintock managed to attempt two, three-point shots (one
each by Jaylen Wesley and EJ Scroggins) on its final possession. Neither
was on the mark. Game totals from the free-throw line - Gilbert 15 of 19
and McClintock 10 of 20.
Gilbert had four starters scored in double figures - Pentelute 21, Reed
Shuey 20, KJ Perry 19 and Shade Kerr 11. McClintock was led by Wesley (24
points), Scroggins (20 points) and Davion Butler (14 points).
Gilbert advances to Wednesday's semifinals to face Apollo, which advanced
after its Tuesday opponent Mountain Pointe withdrew from the tourney. One
of Gilbert's two losses this season was to Apollo two weeks ago. That game
is set for 5:30 p.m. The other semifinal is at 7 p.m. matching Hamilton
Hamilton advanced with a 53-44 win over Desert Mountain and Ironwood got
past Highland, 61-55. Hamilton's Quincy Adams scored a team-high 17
points. Aaron Foote added 11, sinking 3 of 4 threes. Michael DeHorney
rounded out the double-figure scorers for the Huskies with 10 points.
Desert Mountain's Easton Reagan tallied a game-high 22 points. Ironwood
was paced by Ringo Aguet's 14 points and 12 from Jordan Kuac. Highland's
AJ Riggs connected for a game-high 23 points.
Gilbert boys basketball team off to fast start behind
tough defense, unselfish play
Richard Obert - Arizona Republic -
ORIGINAL STORY & PIX
Gilbert is always good in basketball. But did anybody expect the Tigers to
be this good?
They've won their first six games, beat Gilbert Perry (51-45) — one of the
top contenders to win the 6A title — to win its holiday tournament last
week, and kept Scottsdale Desert Mountain top scorer Easton Reagan in
check Tuesday night for a 52-42 win at home.
What the Tigers have done early on already has the student section looking
like it is in January form.
Usually, big crowds don't come out until after the Christmas holidays,
when power-point games and region rivals make the match-ups more
But this team is special and the students know it.
They play with intensity, a fire on defense, and make every opposing shot
tough to come by.
Even though Gilbert Mesquite senior guard Nate Calmese went off for 37
points against Gilbert, it took 35 shots for him to get that, and Gilbert
won the game 79-66.
The Tigers aren't very big. They have 6-6, 220-pound Reed Shuey in the
post. They have a terrific point guard in senior Nikko Pentelute, who was
named the Most Valuable Player of Gilbert's Welcome to the Jungle
tournament. Junior guard KJ Perry is a tough defender who can score.
Pentelute and Perry both are averaging 18 points a game. Pentelute and
Shuey each average eight rebounds.
Coach Jay Caserio knows how to get the most out of his entire roster, get
them to play team basketball on both ends of the court.
"Our senior leadership and experience are keys to our success," Caserio
Desert Mountain will be good this year. Coach Mark Schumaker does a great
job, and Reagan is a leader on and off the court. At halftime, the Wolves
led Gilbert by six, and had a one-point lead at the start of the final
"Coach Shumaker took us completely out of everything we wanted to do on
offense and dominated the glass in the first half," Caserio said. "We
finally started to take care of the ball in the second half, kept them off
the lass and executed the offense with some timely 3s."
Gilbert plays against Thursday night at Mesa Desert Ridge. The Tigers are
in the midst of playing eight games in 14 days, before taking a break and
getting ready for the McClintock tournament Dec. 27.
This unselfish team is built to handle this kind of grind.
"They are so solid on both ends, dictate pace, and make great
adjustments," Schumaker said of Gilbert. "We were doing a great job
against their best guys, and they had some role guys step up.
"They don't beat themselves. Make very few mistakes. You have to be on
your game and have a great game plan."
Welcome to the Jungle - Day 3
November 24, 2021 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365
and Gilbert continued to bludgeon opponents on Day 3 of the Welcome to the
Jungle Holiday Tournament at Gilbert High.
Both schools finished 3-0 and earned the right to face off in Friday's
tourney title game at 5 p.m. at Gilbert HS. Gilbert took down Corona del
Sol, 58-42. Perry followed that with the last game of Day 3 by punishing
Mesa Mountain View, 72-34.
Gilbert won its three games by an average of 18 points. The Tigers knocked
off Chandler, Pinnacle and Corona. Perry was even more dominating with an
average margin of victory a whopping 37 points. The Pumas victims were
Desert Ridge, Valley Vista and Mountain View.
Gilbert took the suspense out of its game Wednesday with Corona del Sol
jumping to an 18-2 lead after the first quarter. The Tigers lead never
dipped below double digits nearly the entire game. Senior guard Nikko
Pentelute paced Gilbert with 20 points and got ample assistance from
fellow starters KJ Perry, Reed Shuey and Golden Thibaudeau. Perry and
Shuey scored 11 points apiece and Thibaudeau added nine. All nine of his
were in the first half. Corona del Sol's top scorers were Quinn Thorne (9
points) and Raymond Lam (8 points).
Perry had six players score in the first quarter in its win over Mountain
View. Koa Peat (6), Dylan Anderson (5) and at least a basket or free throw
from Elijah Burlend, Kyle Waters, Cody Williams and Ben Egbo forged a 19-6
advantage after the first eight minutes. Anderson and Williams got cooking
in the second period, combining for 16 of the Pumas 24 points in the
quarter. Their lead at intermission was 43-14. Anderson finished with a
game-high 16 points and Williams and Peat tallied 14 points each. Peyton
Rule led Mountain View with 13 points.