Gilbert boys basketball coach Stewart Kennerly was pleased with the shots his team was getting against Airport during the first three quarters - but they were not falling.
That changed in the fourth quarter as the Indians knocked down four 3-pointers to rally for a 58-51 victory against the host Eagles in the first round of the Airport FCA Tournament on Monday morning.
"The big thing for us is we were able to keep it close, and in the end a couple of guys got hot for us," Kennerly said.
Matt Stegall was the main contributor in the final quarter, when he made three 3-pointers as Gilbert (7-3) used a 28-8 spurt that began in the third quarter and lasted well into the fourth. Stegall made three 3-pointers during the run, and Miki Morrison added one.
This came on the heels of the Indians going 2-for-16 from 3-point range in the first three quarters. They were 4-for-8 in the final eight minutes.
"We've got three or four good outside shooters, and it took us a while to find the right ones." Kennerly said. "We got good looks and opportunities at the beginning, but they just were not falling. Finally it did."
Airport (3-8) trailed only once in the first half and was in control until the final eight minutes. The Eagles had only six turnovers, held a 12-4 advantage on second-chance points through the first three quarter and were leading 36-30 lead before it all unraveled.
The Indians forced turnovers on three of the Eagles' first four possessions and opened with a 10-2 run in the first 2 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter.
Stegall, who scored 11 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, gave Gilbert the lead with a 3-pointer then a layup to make it 40-38. Airport tied it on a jumper from Tay Drakes before Demetrius Haltiwanger gave the Indians the lead for good off an offensive rebound putback.
Haltiwanger didn't play in the first half but scored 12 points in extensive minutes in the second half.
"Demetrius gave us a big boost off the bench," Kennerly said. "We aren't a team full of stars, and we kept it close with a combination of players, and that's what we have to do."
Morrison also scored 11 points in the final quarter to finish with 17. Gilbert outscored the Eagles 32-15 to end the game.
Airport coach Jimmy Kinard thought his team lost focus in the final quarter.
"We haven't played a complete 32 minutes yet," he said. "We've got good guys that like each other but just aren't playing good basketball right now."
G: Matt Stegall 19, Miki Morrison 17, Demetrius Haltiwanger 12, Robinson 2, Watkins 6, Jennings 2. A: Richard Martin 16, Tay Drakes 13, Raymond Pinkston 10, Harris 2, Lee 2, Stewart 5, White 3. Rec: G 7-3, A 3-8.