It had it all. The high-level, high-major talent. The in-state rivalry that has come-to-be. The two programs that started and have been built right here in Arizona and have gained well-deserved national recognition. Two of the “faces” of the Grind Session. The two teams have battled it out every time they have met in recent memory, going into overtime just less than 2 weeks ago in the Border League tournament right here in the Valley.
The atmosphere and anticipation in this game was intense! Fans cheering and the house rocking. At times, you could feel the court shaking a bit.
So the table was set for a feast of a game in a rematch and it did not disappoint. Early on the game would go back-and-forth with 6-foot-4 senior point guard Ty Ty Washington leading the way for Compass and 6-foot-6 senior guard/wing Alden Applewhite showing off his offensive toolbox. Dream City came out of the gates with a good, balanced attack. However, it wasn’t long before Compass opened up a gashing 12-point lead and drew the first real blood of the heavyweight bout.
But Dream City answered with a vicious run of their own and clawed themselves right back into the game as their star 6-foot-9 senior forward Arthur Kaluma and 6-foot-4 senior guard Jayden Nunn made play after play and gave them an 8-point lead with a minute left to play, as it looked like it was just about done going into a timeout. Dream City seemed to have stifled the talented weapon that is Ty Ty Washington and Applewhite had went cold as ice from the field. Dream City spent the better part of the 2nd half in the double bonus.
But Compass was far from done. The full-court defensive pressure the Dragons put on Dream City busted a couple pipes and created some turnovers that led to transition buckets and free-thrown, giving Compass a chance to put points on the board with the clock stopped. Then it all came together, one of the more clutch shots you’ll see at this level. Down 3, less than 10-seconds to go and Washington had the ball coming up the court, got a great screen from Applewhite and knocked down the 3-pointer to tie the game with just 5 seconds remaining. Dream City had a chance to win it at the end that came up short and the game was sent into overtime.
In overtime, Compass drew first blood early but Dream City answered to tie the game back up. The usual sharp-shooting Applewhite could seem to throw the ball in the ocean for a nice stretch of the second half but that all changed when he found himself at the top of the key open and nailed a huge 3-point shot to give Compass a 3-point lead. Dream City had some chances but the game was sealed when Washington got put at the line with a chance to put the nail in the coffin and you know the cold-blooded, clutch killa had his hammer ready, giving his squad a 5-point lead and complete one of the more impressive come-from-behind victories you will see all season long.
This is what the Grind Session is all about! Intensity! Talent! The Platform! It was represented so well on both ends.