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Posted On: 01/12/18 12:50 PM
Region play is underway and the intensity of the games has magnified. Further, teams within their regions, due to scouting and playing each other multiple times, tend to know each other better than anyone else in the state. With the state tournament right around the corner, the games below will play a huge impact in who claims the region title and who makes the state tournaments for their respective classification.
O’Connor put up a fight in the first battle between these two teams. However, Pinnacle was too much for them. O’Connor will have their hands full even more now that Trent Brown is back in the backcourt with Nico Mannion. O’Connor will need to do more in order to pull off this upset and give themselves a chance at the region title.
While O’Connor has talented guards in Chase Morley and TJ Connaker who are capable of playing at a high level. However, the depth of Pinnacle might be too much as they add Spencer Rattler to that mix as well.
As far as wings are concerned, Pinnacle has the fortune of being able to utilize Mason Johnson and Jordan Mains. These two wings provide length, shooting, and athleticism. On the other side of the court, O’Connor will have much improved Keaton Rodgers. Rodgers has moved from being a traditional post to being a versatile 3/4 who is capable of playing on the block.
This should be a competitive game. However, the depth of Pinnacle will be too much.
Julian Molina, Drew Cotton, and Trevor Smith will need to have stellar games in order to go on the road and upset Buena. Cotton is a solid guard who does a little bit of everything for this team. His ability to get on the glass and create for others as well as himself has been key to the success of Mountain View this year. He will have his hands full as Buena has solid guard play as well.
Buena is led by Kino Bellinger, Dominic Mooney, and Cyrus Thomas. Mooney will most likely match-up with Cotton in a showdown of two of the top guards in 5A. Both guards are versatile and do a number of things to impact the game which will make this match-up that much more intriguing. Further, Bellinger and Molina can score the basketball at a high level.
Willow Canyon got out to a strong start in powerpoint games. However, they are riding a 3 game losing streak into this one and badly need the win. This will be their 3rd game this week with one being a close lose in which they led by 24 over Liberty and the other being a lose by a considerable margin to Shadow Ridge. Kelvin Patrick is the go to player for Willow Canyon. He is a capable shooter who prefers to slash and create. In order for Willow Canyon to pull of this win, they will need large production from Kevin Kilgore.
Centennial is off to a solid start and could compete for the region title with Liberty. In order to do so, they will need to navigate the conference and win games like this one. Koby Jones gets a lot of the attention for Centennial due to his athleticism and motor. Moreover, the guard play of Centennial has been key in their wins. Payton Nelson does a great job coming off of on-ball screens and creating for his teammates. His basketball IQ and feel for the game is crucial to Centennial’s success.
McClintock brings one of the best players in the loaded 5A Metro region to the table against a tough Sunnyslope team. Josh Baker, who had 25 of his teams 54 points in a close win over Ironwood, will need to play a stellar game against the physical Sunnyslope squad. As far as X-Factors are concerned, Armani Williams will be another huge key in McClintock’s upset bid as he brings a physicality and toughness to the team that they will need to compete with Slope.
Sunnyslope is coming off a lose to region foe Maricopa in a crazy game in which Sunnyslope led by 3 points with little time left and lost. The last time Slope lost to an in-state opponent, they went on a tear and took opponents to the woodshed. In this massive winning streak was a 24 point win over Deer Valley, who beat them in that in-state lose. Kyle Fischer sets the tone for this group. His physicality and toughness is contagious to the rest of this team. If he comes out with grit, the rest of the group will follow suit. Chris Orozco is the X-Factor for Sunnyslope as McClintock does not have a lot of size. Orozco does a great job of competing for position backside and should have a productive night.