Early-season high school basketball games are as much about effort as they are about victories.
Canyon Springs’ boys team used hard work to turn a four-point game at halftime into a 35-point blowout Thursday.
The Pioneers outscored host Foothill 53-22 in the second half on the way to a 91-56 victory in a rematch of last season’s Sunrise Region title game.
“In the second half that effort was pretty amazing,” Canyon Springs coach Daryl Branham said. “We were pretty pleased with the effort in the second half.”
The Pioneers led 38-34 at halftime, and the Falcons cut the lead to 40-39 on a 3-pointer by Brannon Cresanto with 6:31 to go in the third quarter. But from there it was pretty much all Canyon Springs.
The Pioneers answered Cresanto’s shot with a 10-2 run that gave them control.
Defense was the key to the surge. Canyon Springs limited the Falcons to 9-for-25 (36 percent) shooting from the field in the second half.
“We talked at halftime that defensively we had to get better,” Branham said. “We thought that giving up 34 points in a half was too much, and they came out and responded.”
The Pioneers also got hot offensively, shooting 19-for-31 (61.3 percent) from the field in the second half, though that had as much to do with the defense as it did the offense.
Canyon Springs forced 36 turnovers, 20 in the second half, and scored 37 points off turnovers.
“That’s what we’re trying to preach to them: Let your defense be your best offense,” Branham said.
Michael Thompson led Canyon Springs with 23 points, seven rebounds and four steals. Trey Evans came off the bench to contribute 22 points — 18 in the second half — and five steals.
Greg Cox led Foothill with 15 points.