Wiese goes wild as Pinnacle reaches third straight title game - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Wiese goes wild as Pinnacle reaches third straight title game

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Posted: Wednesday, March 2, 2011 9:26 pm | Updated: 3:59 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

The only thing Sydney Wiese didn't do was explain her day on Wednesday, but she left everyone else with plenty to talk about.

Wiese, one-half of third-seeded Pinnacle's girls basketball team's dynamic duo, did it all in a 65-61 victory against rival and No. 10 seed Horizon in the 5A Division II state tournament semifinals at Jobing.com Arena.

The win required an early comeback (fueled by Wiese) and then a series of last-minute rebuttals (also by Wiese) to keep hard-charging Horizon at bay. But it was enough to send the Pioneers to a third consecutive 5A-II championship game against two-time defending champion Tolleson on Friday at 12:30 p.m. Tolleson beat Avondale Westview handily in Wednesday's early semifinal.

Pinnacle coach Jackie Clayton and players refused comment to reporters afterward. It's at least the second consecutive game in which they've done so.

By then, however, Wiese had shown herself to be a wizard. She scored a career-high 35 points that included seven three-pointers, and she hit all eight of her free throws in the fourth quarter. Most of those ultimately repelled Horizon surges and kept the Pioneers with a two possession lead late.

"I think we had the better team but they had the better player," said Horizon coach Josiah McDaniel, whose team is no stranger to the sophomore's prowess. "She's a heckuva kid. I'm happy for her."

Despite being unable to hit the broad side of a barn most of the day (26.8 percent shooting), Horizon chewed away at an 11-point Pinnacle lead in the fourth quarter as the Huskies held their own against the bigger Pinnacle frontcourt and got big baskets from Madison Austin and Paige Picciotti.

Mandi Yanovitch pulled Horizon to within 48-44 on a putback with five minutes left. Wiese then went the length of a floor for a layup and six-point lead.

Wiese hit a trey to make it 57-49, but Horizon hit consecutive outside shots and a three-point play by Austin cut it down to 57-55. Wiese hit another three-pointer.

Austin hit a three with 30 seconds left to again cut Pinnacle's lead to 61-59. Wiese hit four free throws, the last with 6.9 seconds left.

Outside cold shooting and Wiese, Horizon did everything it wanted. The Huskies doubled forward Aley Rohde and held her to 10 points (she did have 14 rebounds, five assists and seven crucial blocks).

Even McDaniel felt most of Wiese's points came off broken plays, offensive rebounds or tipped balls. He also credited Picciotti (23 points, five rebounds, four assists), Austin (20 points, 10 rebounds) and Yanovtich (13 rebounds, three steals) with leading the comebacks.

"I like how we kept our composure all season," McDaniel said, noting his team had players miss games every week from Christmas until the start of the state tournament. "There was no drama and we stuck together. We never lost our way."

They were burned by Wiese, and though it was unofficially the most points Horizon has allowed to a single girls basketball player in school history, even the Huskies couldn't deny being done in by a lanky sophomore with hot hands.

"She made all the plays," McDaniel said. "She played like a kid who's going to play on Saturdays in a couple years. She was phenomenal." 

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