Boys Basketball Previewby Andy Morales on Nov. 20, 2009, under Sports
Boys Basketball Preview
When St. Gregory beat Valley Union 46-32 to win back to back state championships last winter, they solidified themselves as a power in Arizona.
Bennett Sawyer scored 19 points in that game for St. Gregory but he graduated. Blake Gephart, Jason Rickel and Zach Mulder return for their last year and juniors Frankie Mgbolu and Jacob Baranowski were on the All-Tournament team.
Valley Union gets a rematch on January 8 but, unlike St. Gregory, they didn’t lose any players to graduation. Saul Mancinas, Jason Collins, Jose Gamez and 6’2” Jesus Cordova return to challenge St. Gregory.
Tanque Verde and Duncan each lost in the first round last year. Tanque Verde lost 5 seniors making this a young team. Duncan was totally devastated by losing 7 players to graduation.
Brandon Spalten returns for the Academy of Tucson.
Thatcher lost in overtime to Precision in the championship game 75-72 behind Jon Orr’s 20 points. He and six of his teammates graduated and the Eagles might find it difficult to replace them. 6’5” Dayton Barney will have to lead the team this year.
2 Seed San Manuel lost to 3 seed Willcox in the first round and then Willcox lost to Thatcher in the next round. The Miners come back with 8 seniors and Willcox has Shane Hicks and Rudy Verdugo returning.
Benson lost in overtime in the first round to San Carlos. San Carlos then beat Bisbee. Dain Dastrup returns for the Bobcats while Sergio Rivera returns for Bisbee.
Greg Schimke and Trevor Cook will turn in their helmets and once again lead Pusch Ridge. 6’4” Daniel Bays and 6’3” David Hoffman return for Desert Christian.
Safford lost in the semifinals to top seed Estrella Foothills. Safford was 24-7 last year but they only had two guys under 6 foot. They lose 6’8” Jake Taylor but bring back 6’8” Colby Wilson. Size equals skill in basketball and Safford has plenty of size.
Demetri Hayes returns as the top scorer for Empire. Santa Cruz got hit hard when Joseph Douglas graduated but Chris Bradley returns.
Cholla lost in the first round, as did Sabino. Pueblo lost in the first round to Cienega in the first round but lost to Catalina Foothills in overtime 79-75.
The Foothills then lost to Sunnyslope in a semifinal game.
Cat Foothills will have to play without Sterling North and his 16 points per game but they have Jake Klewer and Connor Bailey returning. Brandon Burnett returns for Cienega but they lose Coree Aten and Seth Mejias-Brean.
Matt Korchek will play again for Sabino. The rest of 4A I had a pretty disappointing season last year and it will be interesting to see which team steps it up this year.
Palo Verde lost in the first round last year. Leading scorer Derrion Coleman returns.
Amphi lost to Santa Rita in the semifinals 66-61. They will be led by Lester Medford and Malcolm Millner.
Santa Rita lost to Greenway in the championship game 60-58. Terrell Stoglin comes back for his last year with the Eagles. He had 28 points in the championship game. That was the third straight loss and 4 of the last 5 for Santa Rita in the final. Stoglin heads to Marylan next year.
Buena made it to the semifinals before losing to St. Mary’s. They upset Mesa Mountain View along the way. Anthony Miller is gone and so is Daniel Chavez. They lose their top five scorers. Devonte Malcolm is now their leader.
Salpointe said goodbye to Frank Kalil but Colby Weaver is just a junior and so is Emilio Acedo. Tucson High will have at least 8 seniors this year.
Rincon lost in the first round where they were upset by South Mountain. Juan Pablo Favela will have
to make due without teammates Travis Timmons and Gilbert Tafoya.
Ryan Rosthenhausler returns for his final year for Sunnyside. Mountain View no longer has Aaron Anderson so Scott Volpe will have to step up.
Top seed Ironwood Ridge lost the championship game 42-39 against 2 seed North. Brandon Duliakis graduated so did Chad Carter. Lawrence Hampton is now a senior and Tyler D’Amore returns also.
UA recruit Daniel Bejarano played for North in that game. Brandon Duliakis is playing for former UA coach Russ Pennell at Grand Canyon.