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Posted On: 11/8/17 11:02 AM
The 3A Metro region will be as challenging as they come in this entire classification. There are a number of teams in this region who will look to compete for a better position than they were in last year. With that said, Valley Christian, who finished region play at 9-1 last season, looks to be the favorite in this group as they bring back the best guard and big combination in the state.
Despite losing one of the best players in the region in Matt Svorinic, the group brings back two very talented 2019 prospects. Connor Braun will be the best big man in the region and will be a game changer for this group. Braun will control the glass and the paint, offensively as well as defensively. In addition to Braun, Jalen Grijalva will be one of the top point guards in the region as well. His ability to shoot it from deep is going to space the court and give Braun more space to operate. In addition, he will be relied upon to get Braun involved on the block.
Casteel brings back their entire team from last year. This group, despite being young, finished third in the region and won a number of tough games. Chris York will lead the way for the group. York is a knock down shooter who is elusive. He will be a game changer for Casteel. In addition to York, Austin Ponsness will aid this group by controlling the glass and providing another scoring option. Due to the entire team returning from last year, this group brings back plenty of experience and will be ready to make a run for the 3A Metro region title.
Although the majority of a Fountain Hills team that had a tremendous season has graduated, Fountain Hills still brings back one of the best point guards in the 3A Metro region. Larkin Lipps will be responsible for dictating the tempo of the game and getting his teammates involved. Despite leading the team in assists last season, Lipps will need to play an even bigger role for this group in this upcoming season. Lipps will need to score the basketball better, especially from deep, for Fountain Hills to reach their potential. In addition to Lipps, look for a number of 2018 prospects who saw the floor some last year to play key X-Factor roles.
Of the returners, John Henderson brings back the most production and will most likely have the biggest role out of any of the returning prospects. As a junior, he found a way to impact the game in a variety of ways. He will need to do more of that and then some in order to make up for the departures of last year’s 2017 class. In addition to Henderson, Derrick Barnes and Parley Kirkham will be looked to for more production. Barnes will be entering his junior season after a successful sophomore campaign in which he played meaningful minutes to help Yuma Catholic finish tied for 3rd in this region.
Key Contributors: Travis Evans
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