"They were kind of doing what they wanted to in the first half for the most part," said Sultan head coach Nate Trichler.
But then the Turks began to chop away at Archbishop Murphy's lead.
"They hit some key baskets at the end of the second and gained momentum going into halftime. Their physicality inside wore us down midway through the third and fourth quarter," said Wildcats head coach Jamar Williams.
VandenEkart made 12-of-13 free throws, and Deion Bonilla scored 15 points for Sultan.
"The Bonilla kid gave them a great lift in the second half with his interior offense and his rebounding," said Williams.
Sultan made 82% of its free throws, 22 to Archbishop Murphy's 14.
Josh Parafina, who paced Archbishop Murphy with 21 points, and Chase White combined for nine 3-pointers. Both had open looks in the second quarter when Sultan was playing a 2-3 zone, according to Williams.
The Turks didn't actually take the lead until near the end of the fourth, and they only led 58-56 with 1:30 to play. The Wildcats called time out to run a play and Sultan forced a five-second call on the inbounds play. The Turks scored on the following possession with about 1:20 left, making it a two-possession game.
"That was the deciding blow," said Trichler.
At Archbishop Murphy H.S.
Sultan 11 21 14 22 -- 68
Archbishop Murphy 19 18 11 14 -- 62
Sultan--Robbie Rappuhn 2, Steven Branham 6, Bubba Branham 0, Brock VandenEkart 26, Cooper Beucherie 1, Sam Cotterill 3, Antonio Rivas 15, Deion Bonilla 15. Archbishop Murphy--Zander Clouse 12, Phil Hoban 0, Brad Kwesele 8, Brantle Harris 0, Sajan Saini 0, Chase White 15, Conner Longoria 6, Josh Parafina 21. 3-point goals--VandenEkart 2, White 5, Parafina 4. Records--Sultan 11-11 overall. Archbishop Murphy 12-7.
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