Shadow Mountain Improves With Win Over Cactus Shadows

by Justin Vargas | Posted on Sunday, December 3rd, 2017

The stage was set on Friday night.  Cactus Shadows (5-1) headed to Shadow Mountain with an impressive 5-0 unblemished record. Shadow Mountain (3-0) had scored over 100 points in each of their first two games, and the teams could not be more different in terms of their style of play.  While Shadow Mountain is next level athletic and gets up and down the court in Showtime fashion, Cactus Shadows is tough and wears you down with a grind-it-out style of play.  The two contrasting styles were certainly on display Friday night.

The Shadow Mountain Matadors came out cold as an ice cube in the first quarter, missing all of their (7) 3-point attempts, as the Falcons from Cactus Shadows came out confident and ready to play.  The Falcons hit back-to-back 3-pointers by their 5-foot-7 junior point guard, which would give them a 7-0 lead to start the game.  Their 6-foot senior guard and captain Julian Johnson broke the Shadow Mountain press almost single handed early on.

Head coach Mike Bibby’s Matadors did not help their cause at all by giving the ball away and committing ticky-tack fouls - putting a good free-throw shooting team on the line for free points.  Emotions started showing early, as Shadow Mountain’s 6-foot-4 junior wing Antonio Reeves picked Johnson’s pocket and drove down the court for a lay-up that would lead to a flagrant foul and technical fouls, due to the confrontation that ensued.

With under 2 minutes to go in the opening quarter, the nationally ranked Matadors found themselves down 12-6.

While Shadow Mountain continued to bring the pressure full court, Cactus Shadows was showing they were not going to be intimidated and put their chests out early.  The Falcons were even fouling in a fashion that would’ve made the 90’s Knicks' teams proud, making sure that their much more athletic opponents weren’t going to get off any dunks to spark their home crowd that was just itching for something to cheer for.  Meanwhile, the Falcons were hot as fish grease early from 3-point distance - canning (3) treys in the opening quarter to help end it with a 16-11 lead.

The Matadors began to show a little life on the offensive end in the early minutes of the second quarter as their 6-foot-5, 200-pound senior forward Immanuel Allen took a drive baseline and finished with a big-boy slam dunk.  After a cold start, their 6-foot-2 star junior guard Jaelen House finally started to put his imprints on the game, after getting back-to-back steals that would lead to 5 straight points, as his and-1 layup would tie the game at 16 all with just over 6 minutes left in the first half.

While Shadow Mountain continued to struggle from deep, Cactus Shadows continued to grind it out - taking (4) charges in the first half.  However, yet another steal by House would give his team their first lead of the game - taking a 24-22 advantage with 3 minutes to go in a surprising first half.  An impressive transition dunk by 6-foot-4 sophomore Shemar Morrow would get the Shadow Mountain crowd out of their seats.  The paint was a block party in the 2nd quarter, hosted by the Matadors front court.  6-foot-1 junior guard Jovan Blacksher would knock down a 3 at the buzzer to give them a  37-28 lead going into halftime.

Blacksher came out shooting like he never walked into the locker room, as he would open up the 2nd half with back-to-back treys to get the Matadors out in front by 13 in the opening minutes of the 3rd quarter.  Shadow Mountain’s superior athleticism and talent began to overwhelm the Falcons in the 2nd half, as they would see the lead increase to 17 with on-ball full court pressure.

House played like an absolute savage on the defensive end, in the face of whatever guard was attempting to bring the ball up for the Falcons.  Not sure how many steals he had in this game, but it had to be in the double-digits.

Allen is an absolute man on the inside for the Matadors, and he showcased that in the second half of this game.  He was a machine on the boards for his team on both ends of the court.  His put-back dunk would give Shadow a 25-point lead with less than 2 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter.

They would turn the 4th quarter into a game that resembled what you see at a playground, as you almost forgot how this game started with the Falcons owning the physical aspect of it.  Shadow Mountain started to do what they do on both ends of the court, and the Falcons were limited as to what they could do to stop it.  The game would end 77-45 in Shadow Mountain’s favor, after a hard fought game by Cactus Shadows.

House would lead all scores with a 30-point effort, as Allen would finish with a solid 15.

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