Posted On: 09/3/17 7:44 PM
A number of the top teams in 3A will look quite familiar from last year. Most of these teams bring bought key contributors who will look to raise their production so that the departed seniors of last year are not missed. The top 2 teams for most of the season in 3A last year were upset in the state tournament. With that said, those two programs bring back a lot of talent and should be at the top again. Below is the list of the top 5 teams in 3A in our Way Too Early Rankings.
Blue Ridge was upset in the elite 8 of the tournament last year. However, they are a team who has demonstrated that they know how to win. Further, they return a good portion of their team. Needless to say, they would be severely disappointed to do anything less than win the state tournament. One of the key contributors is 6’3 Mason Berges. Berges averaged nearly 22 points and 8 rebounds per game despite being only 6’3. He will be the primary leader of the team; however, the group does return their next two leading scorers. Darrien Burnette is in the class of 2019 and is a marksman from deep. He shot it nearly 40% and averaged almost 3 three pointers per game. Lastly, Corey Endfield is another talented guard who can spread the court with his shooting abilities. This group returns far too much scoring ability for them to be overlooked.
Valley Christian was the favorite to win the tournament last year. However, their run was cut short in one of only four losses on the year. Winslow took on the task of taking down Goliath. With that said, the group brings back plenty of talent despite losing key contributor Matthew Svorinic. Some of the key prospects to watch are Connor Braun and Jalen Grijalva. Braun controls the paint offensively and defensively. His size and ability to play on the block is crucial to this team’s success. Further, Grijalva was an all around threat for Valley. In addition to averaging nearly 9 points per game, he gets on the glass well, plays tough defense, and manages the tempo of the game. Valley Christian is the most likely suspect to knock off Blue Ridge.
After the run that Winslow made in the state tournament last year, it is hard to put them at #3. However, they do lose some of their fire power and will have plenty of new players trying to fill roles. With that said, they do bring back talent players in Ricardo Villanueva and Darius James. Villanueva is tough to guard due to his balanced scoring attack. He is capable of shooting it at a high rate from deep and attacking the rim. As for James, the talented 2019 prospect is a capable shooter, but he prefers to live in the paint despite only being 5’7. Winslow is aggressive and plays a physical style of basketball. This group will make plenty of noise this year.
All I need to say is BJ Burries. He is one of the most dangerous scoring threats in the entire state. He will flat out light up any opponent that Globe faces. In addition to Burries, this team returns to other talented prospects in Braden Dalton and Marine Reede. Dalton is about 6’4 and brings size as well as toughness. He often gets overlook due to Burries strong play. However, he averaged 14 points per game last year and will look to up that total this season. Lastly, Reede is a contributing role player who will make his mark on a number of games this season.
Northwest Christian was a tough out in the state tournament due in large part to Andrew Augustine. Augustine shoots the basketball as well as anyone in the state. My favorite part about his game is that he does not need the basketball in his hands for the entire possession to make an impact. He moves well without the basketball and shoots it well coming off of screens. In addition to Augustine, this group brings a lot of size and length. Their size mixed with the grit that they bring from the football field is going to make them a match up nightmare for the vast majority of 3A.