Before Saturday’s game, Seton Catholic honored Matthew Tibbetts as its all-time top 3-point shooter. The senior already has 105 treys to eclipse Andrew Lebowitz’s 94 with a week still to go in the regular season.
After the game, Tibbetts still had 105 but the Sentinels had the win as they powered the ball inside to top Fountain Hills 50-33 in a matchup of the boys’ 3A South Region leaders.
"They must have been doing some scouting," Tibbetts said. "They were all over me. You’ve got to know when you can shoot and when you can’t. Tonight wasn’t the night to start bombing 3's."
Instead, Seton (21-3, 13-1) fed 6-foot-8 Drew Arnold for 17 as he dominated the middle against the Falcons (18-5, 11-3).
"It was exciting to get back at those guys since they beat us last time," said the senior, who also grabbed 12 rebounds.
Fountain Hills built an 8-5 lead in the opening minutes as freshman Pat Keating hit a 3 and David Goldberg and Martin Ort each scored. The Sentinels took the lead as Arnold scored for the third time, on an assist by Tibbetts, then Eric Barkyoumb hit a 16-footer for a 9-8 lead.
The Falcons’ Gary Preston tied the score with a 3 to open the second quarter but Arnold scored on an assist from Tracy Zea and the Sentinels never trailed again. Fountain Hills struggled on offense and had a dismal day at the freethrow line, hitting just 4-of-15.
The Falcons almost went the entire third period without a field goal until Eric Studer hit a 3 with 52 seconds remaining.
Seton coach Hosea Graham credited his guards for sacrificing numbers to get the win.
"We’ve got three of the best shooting guards in the state," he said. "They want to make it to the championship and that takes a lot of maturity and selflessness."