Paradise Valley rides defense past Notre Dame Prep to wrap up back-to-back

Members of the Notre Dame Preparatory and Paradise Valley High School boys basketball teams shake hands after PVHS defeated NDP 74-46. (Special to the Independent/Arturo Spell)

The Notre Dame Preparatory boys basketball team got its three-game road trip off to a rocky start losing 74-46 to the Paradise Valley High School Trojans in Phoenix Friday, Jan. 26.

This game marked the second of a back-to-back contest between PVHS and NDP, with Paradise Valley coming out on top 67-56 Tuesday, Jan. 23 in Scottsdale.

NDP head coach Kyle Diemer offered some insight before tip-off as to how this rarity and familiarity within such a short time span could impact the game and what they’d hope to accomplish.

“I’d say it definitely helps, you know?” Coach Diemer said. “The information sticks a little more and you understand rotations a little better because you just did it; just want to come out ready to play. We’ve struggled on the road all year … hopefully we can do what we did on Tuesday with a different result.”

For NDP, however, its hot start Tuesday night did not travel with them Friday night. Halfway through the first quarter, Notre Dame Prep hung with the Paradise Valley and trailed 9-4 with stingy defense and patient offense.

But the PVHS offense found its rhythm and finished the first on an 11-3 run to close out the quarter leading 20-7.

Junior Skylar Certo got it going for the Saints again on offense and led the team in scoring with nine points. Junior Jason Siegle had eight points of his own while trying to establish a presence down low for his team.

“My goal was to take control of the paint; be a force in the paint,” Siegle said after the game. “That’s the main thing every game I go in. I try and be a threat and the most physical, tough guy on the court; willing to sacrifice my body for those hard plays. I feel like as a team when we’re able to go through the middle, for me and all us bigs, it opens up the floor for the rest of the team.”

The Trojans seized control and momentum of the game in the second quarter with tight defense of their own, which led to easy baskets in transition and solid shooting from their perimeter players.

Senior Tashon Brown scored 15 points and junior Nathan Perry had 12, but it was senior Jordan Morris that had the game-high 25 points with 18 of them coming from beyond the 3-point arc.

Paradise Valley head coach Cory Bardet said he credited his team’s much-improved performance Friday night to its defense.

“We’re at our best when we can get out and run; get out in transition,” Coach Bardet said after the game.

“We were able to get stops tonight, get clean rebounds and get out, get into our transition game. So it led to a lot of easy baskets for us at the offensive end that they really did a good job of taking us out of that on Tuesday night.”

The Trojans remained perfect in region play and will ride a 10-game winning streak into their last home game of the regular season Wednesday, Jan. 31, against the Arcadia High School Titans.

The Saints will look to bounce back Friday, Feb. 2, against the Chaparral High School Firebirds as they continue their three-game road trip.

Editor’s Note: Arturo Spell is a student-journalist from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

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