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Top-seeded ATC uses size, air-tight defense set up 2A title rematch with Pecos

Mar. 15—ALBUQUERQUE — Round 2 is set for the Pecos Panthers and the Academy for Technology and the Classics.

The top-seeded Phoenix did their part to ensure a rematch of last year's Class 2A boys basketball championship Friday afternoon with a 50-34 semifinal win over No. 4 Mesa Vista in The Pit.

ATC (28-3) takes on the seventh-seeded Panthers at 8 a.m. Saturday in The Pit for the state title. Last year, Pecos rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit to pull out a 52-49 win and its fifth championship in seven years.

Size mattered against the Trojans, as ATC relied on its trio of Julian Bernardino, Rocky Miller and Jordan Apodaca to set the tone. The trio combined for 48 points, 31 rebounds and five blocks as the Phoenix held Mesa Vista to 14-for-48 shooting, including a paltry 4-for-28 effort in the second half.

Still, ATC didn't take control of the game until an 8-0 run early in the third quarter turned a 24-all tie into a 32-24 advantage that was never really threatened.

Miller finished with 23 points and 18 rebounds to lead the way for the Phoenix, while Apodaca added 13 points, eight rebounds and all five of ATC's blocks.