In basketball as it is in life, the little things prove the most meaningful.

In basketball as it is in life, the little things prove the most meaningful.

The Phoenix boys basketball team had a pretty good handle on the big picture items during Tuesday's matchup against Class 3A power Dayton, but losing a grip on the game's other aspects proved costly in the semifinals of the Wells Fargo Advisors Christmas Classic.

In the much-anticipated duel between fellow Pirates, second-ranked Dayton used a 13-0 run to open the second half to gain distance over Phoenix and staved off any further threat for a 55-46 triumph at Cascade Christian High.

The local Pirates, ranked sixth at Class 4A, hindered their cause by committing 19 turnovers and shooting an uncustomary 9-for-21 from the free-throw line.

"If you want to beat the elite teams, you've got to take care of those two things," said Phoenix head coach Glenn Johannes.

"The boys wanted this one today and it came down to the little things," he added. "This morning we said we know we're going to lose on the boards so we've got to win on the possessions and win on the free-throw line and, unfortunately, we lost both of those and that's why we ended up losing."

Dayton improved to 6-0 and will look to keep its streak alive in tonight's 7 p.m. championship game against Cascade Christian-Mazama winner. Phoenix (3-2) will square off against Cascade Christian-Mazama loser in the third-place game at 3:45 p.m. Both games will be played at Cascade Christian High.

Maika Ostling, a sturdy 6-foot-10 junior, scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half and finished with eight rebounds and two blocked shots for Dayton. A.J. Hedgecock, a 6-2 junior guard, also fought off a slow start to amass nine points, seven rebounds, four assists and five steals for the Pirates.

For Phoenix, 6-1 junior point guard Alex Young was another stat-sheet stuffer with 16 points, 12 rebounds and six assists. Senior Alex Hobson and junior Tyler Dungannon added eight points apiece.

The hype surrounding Tuesday's matchup seemed to put both teams out of rhythm early. The game featured at least four of the state's top players in the Class of 2012 in Ostling, Hedgecock, Young and Dungannon, as well as a handful of players from each squad who had played together on AAU teams.

The teams traded baskets to finish the first quarter tied at 13 and, despite Dungannon sitting out the second quarter with two fouls, Phoenix hung tough and didn't miss a beat to trail only 26-25 at the break.

"We weren't pushing the basketball, we weren't getting good stops and just were not playing very good basketball," said Dayton head coach Ron Hop, "and part of that was because Phoenix was playing well. Hat's off to them, they've got a couple really, really good guards and the rest of their squad has a good idea what they're doing."

The opening stages of the third quarter were certainly more to Hop's liking, with the Pirates focusing on the interior game after a first half that saw them go 2-for-12 from 3-point range. Ostling scored the first 11 points of the third quarter, going 5-for-6 from the foul line to complement a 17-foot jumper, a transition dunk and a rebound basket.

"Like coach said, we were shooting way too many 3s and should've driven in the paint more in the first half," said Ostling, "but we changed it up and did a better job of getting inside in the second half."

Young's driving basket with 2:38 to go in the third snapped his team's scoreless drought and Phoenix closed the quarter by scoring the final six points of the frame to trail 39-31 heading into the final quarter.

"We were jazzed before the game and as things went on I think our energy just dropped and when they built the lead, that didn't help at all," said Young.

Phoenix pulled to within six points with 2:23 to go, but Hayden Craig's inside basket made it 49-41 and then Hedgecock provided a huge boost with a steal and subsequent lay-in. Hedgecock was fouled on the play but missed the extra shot — Dayton wound up going 7-for-17 from the foul line — but Nathan Bernards grabbed the rebound and Ostling followed up a Hedgecock miss with a rebound basket.

It was 53-41 in a matter of 60 seconds and the final result was all but assured.

Dayton managed a 40-25 edge in rebounding, thanks to its size advantage, with Craig pulling down 10 boards to go with his nine points and three assists and Nathan Bernards adding seven rebounds to go with five points, three assists and three steals.

"They're very lengthy and when you're trying to run the offense, it's just hard to see through those long arms," said Young. "Their size bothered all of us, but that's something we can fight through the next time."

"I think every loss that you take is going to help you through the long run and for later in the season if you can learn something from it," he added.

Dalton Richardson and Hobson each grabbed three rebounds and worked effectively with Justin Bohn on the defensive end for Phoenix. Bohn added six points and three assists.

PHOENIX (46) — Young 16, Dungannon 8, Hobson 8, Bohn 6, Richardson 5, T. Keith 2, Loper 1, Brown 0, Campoy 0. Totals: 15-44 9-21 46.

DAYTON (55) — Ostling 15, Hedgecock 9, Craig 9, T. Bernards 6, Ashley 6, N. Bernards 5, Coleman 3, Garcia 2, Manely 0. Totals: 23-57 7-17 55.

Phoenix 13 12 6 15 — 46

Dayton 13 13 13 16 — 55

3-point goals — Phoenix 7-18 (Bohn 2, Dungannon 2, Young 2, Hobson 1), Dayton 2-14 (Coleman 1, Hedgecock 1). Fouled out — Hobson, Craig.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, or e-mail khenry@mailtribune.com. Follow him at twitter.com/Kris_Henry