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Posted On: 09/23/18 11:07 AM
The 5A Southern region is going to be more talented and deeper than it has been in years past. Buena and Cienega will look to lead the pack while nearly every team in the region is in legitimate contention for third place.
Buena brings back the most talent from last year’s team as Kino Bellinger led the way. While Bellinger is capable of getting into the paint and finishing around the rim, he prefers to let it fly from deep. Further, he does it at a high level of accuracy. He can let it fly as well as any prospect in this group.
In addition to having Bellinger, Buena brings back Grant Ward, who possesses a lot of potential. He is a long guard who fills the stat sheet. Ward is long and athletic which provides a lot of intrigue to next level suitors. He has the potential to be a huge game changer for this team as opponents could have a hard time matching up with such a long point guard.
Buena will also have the benefit of returning Brock Fenton and Jose Galvez.
Cienega might have the most to prove out of any team on this list due to the amount of talent that they lost from last season. With that said, JT Elder could be the most impactful player in this entire region next season as well.
Elder has grown, physically and skill wise. He is a handful for opponents due to his mixture of size, athleticism, and skill. At the Prep Hoops Top 250 Expo, Elder was a monster. He is a special prospect with tremendous upside. The scariest part for this region is that he is far from a finished product, yet he is really good.
In addition to Elder, Carson Mott earned varsity playing time last year. Granted, it was in a limited role. These two prospects will be looked to the most with others needing to step up significantly in order to ensure that Cienega has success.
Nobody in this region is a guarantee to finish in the top three as there is plenty of talent returning. Nogales is no exception to that as there will be multiple teams nipping at their heels as they try to compete for this spot.
The biggest question mark for Nogales will be as follows: Who makes up the points left behind by Sammy Legleu’s graduation? There won’t be one prospect who will fill that gap. Rather, it will be scoring by committee that is largely responsible for ensuring that Nogales is able to stay in the race for the state tournament.
A couple of the prospects who will be looked to in order to make up that scoring gap are Fabian Maldonado, David Villa, and Luis Martinez. This group has experience returning. However, they will have to find a way to be successful without their leader from year’s past.