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Don Ketchum
Former Staff Writer, AZPreps365.com

Down by 10 with 1:50 left, Phx. Christian boys rally, win

December 29, 2011 by Don Ketchum, AZPreps365


By Don Ketchum

Time was running out on the boys’ basketball team from Phoenix Christian. The Cougars were trailing Phoenix Horizon Honors by 10 points with 1:50 to play in Thursday night’s (Dec. 29) championship game of the Phoenix Christian Holiday Tournament.

The Cougars had faith that they could rally and keep their unbeaten streak at home intact.

They accomplished their goal, outscoring their opponent 16-3 down the stretch for a thrilling 65-62 victory.

Phoenix Christian is 13-3 overall, 7-0 at home. Horizon Honors slipped to 13-4.

The heroes were many, most notably post player Racine Talla, guard Nick Johnson and wing player Karim Taadou. The 6-foot-7 Talla scored 14 of his 21 points in the second half. Johnson scored 10 of his 18 points in the second half, and Taadou scored 12 of his 15. Guard Alan Yin also converted four key free throws down the stretch.

Phoenix Christian had rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit to tie it at 42 entering the fourth quarter, but the scrappy Horizon Honors team pulled back in front.

Phoenix Christian coach Ron Cornelius admitted that the odds were not in his team’s favor as the clock ticked under the two-minute mark.

Then he watched his team stage its big rally.

“As we got close again, I said, “Wait a second, we’re in this game,’ ’’ Cornelius said.

“To be down by 10 with that little time remaining and then come back . . . we have a neat bunch of kids. They refuse to give up.

“Racine is very good in the middle and Nick Johnson is mentally tough.

“This was a great win for us, something to really build on.’’