arcos de Niza upset sixth-seeded Corona del Sol 68-64 Thursday in a Central Region slugfest that just happened to be in the second round of the 5A state boys basketball tournament.
The visiting Padres, seeded 22nd, shook off a cold-shooting first quarter then withstood an Aztecs rally in the final four minutes to advance to meet another Central Region foe, Desert Vista, in Saturday's quarterfinals at Mountain Pointe High School.
Marcos has lost two of three to region champ Desert Vista.
Holding a 59-53 lead, Marcos (17-12) tried to slow the game down in the final five minutes, but almost let it get away.
Trumaine Gammage and Craig Borengasser each had steals as Corona (17-11) fought back and pulled to within 61-60 at 1:26 left on a pair of free throws by T.J. Benson that were set up by a Clayton Bates steal.
The Padres hit 6-of-7 free throws to hold on to the lead, but the Aztecs had one last gasp. Benson was fouled and injured on a drive to the basket and substitute Jared Godfrey entered the game and hit a pair of free throws with 16 seconds left to cut Marcos’ lead to 67-64.
Dubois Williams was immediately fouled and he missed both free throw attempts. Corona never got a chace for a final shot as Marcos' Joseph Ayodele made a steal to seal the win.
"I saw (they weren't) protecting the ball and I made a try for it," said Ayodele. "That was a rough first half but we came through when it mattered."
Corona led throughout the first half, with Benson torching the nets for 11 points in the second quarter. But a pair of 3-pointers from Williams and another from Justin Goolsby helped the Padres fight back from an 11-point deficit to trail only 38-34 at the half.
"T.J. was on fire that first half," said Marcos coach Dave Stark. "We put Dubois (Williams) on him in the second half."
"We didn't have an answer for Dubois," said Corona coach Sam Duane. "We were up by 11 and they hit those three 3s. But we played hard all year. This was a fun team to coach."