Gilbert Christian (21-10) was looking to overcome major odds this post-season and win their fourth state title in 5 seasons - in what would have been an amazing accomplishment, especially after moving up to the Division-II Class this season. To do so, Gilbert Christian would have to overcome not only playing at a higher level this season, but also would have to overcome the recent loss of their head coach Jerome Joseph. Joseph resigned last week due to "personal reasons."
Without Joseph leading them and against a tough Cienega (26-5) team that has played tough all season, Gilbert Christian would get down early and fail to get back into the game when they had opportunities late. Gilbert would struggle from the field throughout the game due to the defensive pressure from Cienega.
Cienega 5-foot-11 senior guard Shane Burton finished with a team-high 16 points in the win, including 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the second half when it counted.
Gilbert Christian's 6-foot-7 senior forward Sam Jones (PENN commit), who has come up big throughout his career for his program, would struggle to get going in the game and would finish with 15 points in the game, but would score 12 of his 15 points in the final minutes of the game.
Cienega would go on to hold off Gilbert Christian late in the game - winning 62-54 over the Division-III defending state champions. Cienega will advance to the Division-II semi-finals for the first time in their school's history, where they will face a talented and young Shadow Mountain HS team at Jobing.com Arena on Thursday.