Boys D-III Hoops: Pueblo over Flowing Wells 62-48
February 16, 2016 by Andy Morales, AZPreps365
Boy's Division III First Round
Tuesday, Feb. 16 at Pueblo High School
It's been a generation since Pueblo won 19 games in a season and a lifetime since the Warrior magic was so real one could almost touch it. Such was the case Tuesday night when No. 11 Pueblo defeated No. 22 Flowing Wells 62-48 in the first round of the Division III state playoffs.
The Warriors had some success during the Michael Perez years from 2008-2010 but it turned out to be a flirtation rather than a standard. The team only won one game three years later.
Now, second-year coach, and former Arizona football and basketball standout, Kelvin Eafon has the Warrior Nation believing again. Still not quite at the level of the Lafayette "Fat" Lever days but that was a different time and a different gym.
Likewise, Tio Harris has revitalized the Flowing Wells program in the same two-year span. 2005 was the last year the Caballeros had a winning season but Harris has managed to put two of them back-to-back. Winning is now expected and so is a trip to February Frenzy.
Also, like Pueblo, the Caballeros can look back to a rich history under legendary coach Ed Nymeyer but those state titles were also played in another gym in a different time.
The time is now.
Flowing Wells led 13-11 after the first quarter but the Warriors went on a 15-0 run to take a 26-13 lead with 3:08 left in the half. The teams split two earlier matches with Flowing Wells coming out on top 59-56 in January and Pueblo getting a double-overtime win one week ago so one had to know a 13-point lead would not last.
Isaiah Attles led Pueblo with nine points at the half but Brandon Guerrero also scored nine at the break including four down the stretch. Throw in a 3-pointer from Martio Harris and a bucket from Jordan Behrend and the Caballeros found themselves down only 27-22 heading in to the locker room.
Attles transferred in from the Bay area to finish out his high school career with Pueblo. He was a North Coast Section All-League player in California and his grandfather is former Warrior great Al Attles. Former University of Arizona tight end Glenn Howell is his uncle and the Howells took him in this year and he has blossomed even more.
In a word, Attles has been on fire since the winter break and especially since the section playoffs began.
"We started out kind of slow but, to be honest, we didn't show the kind of chemistry we could have until sectionals started," Attles said.
"It took a lot of meshing to show what we could do."
Guerrero came out and shot a 3-pointer to start the third quarter and the 13-point lead was now cut down to only two at 27-25. Had this been the Pueblo team from a month ago, then perhaps there might have been a complete collapse but Attles talked about the new team built on chemistry and he was right.
Pueblo lead 39-33 heading to the fourth and 62-48 at the end. Despite a lack of a shot clock, the Warriors kept coming and coming some more. By the time it was over Attles had 24 points, Justin Pledger had 15, Cedric Cotton had nine and Robert Taylor had eight. Cotton also led the team with well over 10 rebounds.
"We are all weapons," Attles added. "We always have to attack. The next game may be our last."
It was the last game for several Flowing Wells seniors including Guerrero (16 points), Behrend (12) and Martio Harris (9). Martio is one of three brothers playing for their father Tio. Freshmen Tomari and Demari will carry on the winning tradition started by their father.
"This year was special," Martio said. "We came up short tonight but next year looks great for these guys. I love this team. Now, I'm going to work hard in the offseason and see where I end up."
The Harris family also has a rich Arizona football connection. Tio Harris is first-cousin to Ricky and LaMonte Hunley. LaMonte was in attendance.
Harris will lose about ten seniors to graduation but one has to believe he has a plan for success next year. He's already done it.
Eafon will now turn his attention to No. 6 Window Rock (25-9) on Friday. The Fighting Scouts lost in the first round last year and earned a bye this year and are led by senior Shammond Goodman (14 points a game).
The Warriors feel they are ranked much too low and perhaps they are. Had the team played like they have the last week or so all year then a top-five ranking would have been an easy choice.
As it is, Window Rock is struggling of late. Two close wins were followed by a 64-46 blowout in their section tournament and now Pueblo is coming to town.
Anything can happen, that's why we call it February Frenzy.