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Posted On: 02/9/18 2:55 PM
With the 6A, 5A, and 4A play-in games starting today, here are our games to watch as well as our predictions for the play-in round of the state tournament.
These two schools are the closest in seeding, which naturally makes it a little interesting. However, both of these teams are solid in similar areas with Damien Hidalgo manning the middle for Sunnyside and Brandon Kron taking care of the block for Desert Mountain. While Kron is undersized in this match-up, he is more than capable of holding his own against the talented Hidalgo. Further, guard play will be important for both teams with Desert Mountain being led by Brady Giordano and Sunnyside being led by Adrian Canastillo.
Prediction: While both teams mirror each other well in the positions of which they are talented, Sunnyside has the length advantage. However, Desert Mountain shoots the basketball from the perimeter at a higher rate, and they are the home team. This will be a good game with Desert Mountain winning a close one.
While there is no question that Chandler is the underdog, they have played a tough schedule and have found a way to compete with everyone. This group is going to keep it close and compete at a high level. In one and done formats, teams who play like they have nothing to lose tend to have a huge advantage down the stretch as the opposing team gets tight and afraid to lose. With that said, Mike Anderson will run the show for Chandler. He is a capable scorer who gets his teammates involved well.
As far as Millennium is concerned, they are one of the hottest teams making the state tournament as they have won 10 of their last 11. Millennium is young and talented. While being youthful can be a negative, it can also be a positive as the players do not fully understand what it feels like to “turn in your jersey” at the end of the season. They will be led 2021s Justus Jackson and DeRon Holmes.
Prediction: While Chandler will compete at a high level like they have all season, Millennium has the momentum and the home court advantage. This will be a highly contested game, but there will be no answer for DeRon Holmes.
Sandra Day O’Connor and Corona Del Sol will be a battle of guards. Del Sol will be led by Eric Blackwell and Dalon Terry. Both of these guards have bright futures and are two of the best underclassmen in the state. They will need to play like veterans in order to make it out of this round alive.
On the other end of the spectrum, Sandra Day O’ Connor will be led by senior TJ Connaker. Connaker has been a veteran playmaker for O’Connor all season. His ability to score the basketball and create for others has made him the key to this team’s success all season. In addition to Connaker, O’Connor will need Connaker’s backcourt teammate Chase Morley to continue creating for teammates as well and for Keaton Rodgers to have a big day.
Prediction: Corona Del Sol will pull off the only upset of the 1st round. While O’Connor is solid, will compete at a high level, and will execute at a high level; Blackwell and Terry will take over this game and put their stamp on it.