With the stage set for two of the top teams in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference (ACCAC) to meet on Tuesday evening, rather than on their normal Wednesday match-up (due to the Holiday week), it made some an exciting game of junior college basketball at Phoenix College in front of a terrific home crowd.
Phoenix and South Mountain are two of the conference's elite division-II teams this season, and with Phoenix College, the defending national division-II champions, coming off a recent loss to Pima Junior College, head coach Matt Gordon and his staff would look to get their team back to their dominant play on the season. With an exciting head-to-head match-up of the conference's two top guard prospects in action, Phoenix College 5-foot-10 sophomore point guard Brandon Brown (pictured) and the conference's leading scorer, South Mountain's 5-foot-9 sophomore guard Kevin Kelly, the stage was set for an exciting game of basketball for the many fans in attendance.
Phoenix would take a 46-36 halftime lead, South Mountain would struggle to shoot the basketball with any confidence in the first half. South would shoot a dismal 1 for 10 from three-point distance (10%) in the first half, which would allow Brandon Brown and his Phoenix teammates to build their confidence early.
In the second half, Phoenix College would begin to put on a show after a strong alley-oop dunk pass from Brown to sophomore guard Travis Meeker. Meeker would throw down a monster two-handed dunk on the break after catching the pass, and then star soccer player, 6-foot-5 sophomore forward Anthony Tokpah would make his presence felt, after a strong block of a South player on the break, several strong rebounds and then a terrific one-handed dunk in the lane, after another nice dish from Brandon Brown.
Phoenix would take a comfotable double-digit lead late in the second half, before the momentum would swing back to South Mountain late in the game.
South Mountain would begin to gain confidence late in the second half, behind a strong team defensive effort. Sophomore forward Jamarius Claiborne would ignite his team with numerous three-point attempts late, while Kevin Kelly would get it going with strong drives to the basket and mid-range jump shots, while 6-foot-5 sophomore post Monard Brown would compete hard inside the paint on both ends of the floor.
With 2:16 left to play in the game, Phoenix would hold on to a narrow 75-73 lead. After two consecutive missed driving layup attempts by Brandon Brown, and then two free-throws by Brown, Claiborne would convert another big three-pointer to bring his team to within one-point of Phoenix, 79-78, with 1:05 left to play in the game.
But after Brown would elect to allow his teammates to make the play with a minute left to go, Brown would get the ball back one last time with the score tied at 80 all, with :20 seconds left in the game. Brown would survey the floor, before knocking down a mid-range jump shot over the outstretched hands of a South defender just before the final buzzer - leaving :03 seconds left to play in the game. The Brown jumper would give Phoenix College an 82-80 lead.
After a wild fan would run onto the court, the referees would stop the game - giving South Mountain one final attempt to make a play with 3.1 seconds left to play, but South would fail to convert. Phoenix would win the game on a Brown final shot.
Brown would finish with a game-high 31 points and 5 assists in the victory, while 6-foot-4 sophomore guard Steven Green would contribute 10 points and 3 rebounds in the win.
South Mountain would be led by a balanced attack as Monard Brown finished with 18 points and 7 rebounds, 16 points from Kevin Kelly, 14 points and 6 rebounds for Jamarius Claiborne and a nice 13 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists from guard Domineik Banks in the loss.