After a dismal beginning to the season, Arcadia High School (2-3) looked to get things rolling on the season in a big home game against long-time rival Tempe High School (1-1). Arcadia had struggled to begin this season, while Tempe was coming off a big win over a talented Gilbert Christian HS program.
With Tempe sporting a very talented and athletic group of guards, Arcadia would need an epic performance on the night to get back on the winning track. And Arcadia would get one from skilled 6-foot-5 senior wing Connor Nichols. Nichols would explode for a game-high 37 points to lead his team to a huge come-from-behind 76-71 home victory.
With junior college head coaches Sam Ballard of Mesa Junior College and Matt Gordon of Phoenix College in the crowd, Tempe would jump out to a quick and early lead in the game, after they would start the game with (3) three-pointers and a three-point play inside the paint from 6-foot-3, 225-pound senior forward Emanuel Gant. Tempe would take a 12-4 lead to start the game.
Connor Nichols would then turn it on for Arcadia - keeping his team in the game early with a three-pointer in transition. Nichols would go on to score 11 points in the first quarter, as Tempe would hold on to a 21-17 first quarter lead.
In the second quarter, Nichols would pick up right where he left off - scoring consecutive baskets in transition, and then a three-pointer from the top of the key to keep Arcadia within striking distance. Arcadia's strong 6-foot-4 senior forward Avonte Nelms would pick up his second foul early in the second quarter and would have to go to the bench.
With Nichols catching fire for Arcadia, Tempe's gifted 5-foot-11 senior guard Delano Jones would also get hot. The sharp-shooting guard prospect would pour in three-consecutive long range three-pointers to keep Tempe ahead late in the half.
With Tempe gaining serious momentum late in the half and building a double-digit lead, Connor Nichols would end the first half with a contested 25-foot three-pointer that would swish through the net without hitting the rim. The basket would give Nichols an impressive, game-high 25 points in the first half.
Tempe would take a 45-39 lead into halftime.
In the third period, something must have been said at halftime by Arcadia head coach Stephen Danford, because the Titans would ignite their defensive effort and intensity to start the second half. Arcadia would get numerous deflections of the basketball in their zone defense, before a mid-range jump shot and a transition three-pointer from Avonte Nelms, a three-pointer from 6-foot senior guard Patrick Stafford and a transition layup from Nichols.
Arcadia would go on a 15-0 run in the third quarter to break the game open - jumping out to a 58-50 lead over Tempe to end the third period. Tempe head coach Tom Salzstein would get a technical foul to end the quarter.
Arcadia would keep things rolling in the fourth quarter and hold on to the lead throughout the final period. The win over Tempe would be Arcadia's first win over their rival Tempe in many years - providing excellent confidence for one of the state's elite division-II programs in the state, after a disappointing start to the season.