Tournament Preview: Fear the Hop

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Arizona

Posted On: 11/20/18 4:36 PM

Boulder Creek vs. American Leadership Academy 

Despite being the smaller school in this match-up, American Leadership Academy has proven that they can play with the “big boys” as they knocked off last year’s 5A semifinalist, Centennial. While Centennial looks much different than last year, this win at least puts ALA on the radar.

After watching this group, it is clear they are worth more than just being on the radar. They are a solid team with shooters, length, and a post presence. They are well-built and will make noise in this one. Dyson Lighthall is the top post player in this tournament and Devon Brooke is skilled and long.

These two make the team go plus they have shooters to extend the court and allow these two to go to work.

Boulder Creek, on the other hand, has experienced an injury to their top player that could devastate the team that looked to be much improved this upcoming season. With that said, there is plenty of returning talent on this team that will aid in picking up the slack. Kyle Harris will be the go to prospect on this team while Tyrese Rogers role just grew greatly.

This should be a good game with both teams being solid. I expect American Leadership to get the win in a close battle.

Mesa vs. Queen Creek

Mesa is the definite favorite in this one with Zach Hobbs being the top returning prospect for Mesa. However, the team saw a number of other prospects had solid nights in their win against Campo Verde. Steven Cervantes played well for Mesa despite his youth while other 2019 prospects Tony Adame and Ammon Moritz demonstrated they can play big roles for the team.

While Mesa has plenty of returning talent, Queen Creek comes into this one with a lot of question marks. Calvin Gustafson is one of the only returning prospects on this team who played meaningful minutes last year.

Mesa has the huge advantage in this one with plenty of proven commodities. However, it will be intriguing to watch who steps up for Mesa.

Highland vs. Campo Verde

Highland will be much improved this year with new head coach, Todd Fazio. This team will have a tough road ahead of them. However, they will rely on the contributions of multiple prospects in order to be successful. Plus, Fazio will ingrain in the team a team first mentality as well as a focus on execution.

Campo Verde, who lost in convincing fashion to Mesa last night, will look to regroup in this one. They bring back the majority of their team from last year, but are still adjusting to life with a new coach at the helm as well.

Verde will need the efforts of Brock McDowellBen LangfordPayton MacLay, and Luke Nicolds in order to take steps forward in this one. While I expect Campo to play better, Highland will advance from this one.

Saguaro vs. Corona Del Sol

Coach La Rue brings a largely inexperienced Saguaro team into this contest against a Corona Del Sol team that is looking to replace their top prospect from last year who left for Hillcrest Prep, Dalen Terry.

Both teams have a lot of questions to answer as Eric Blackwell is one of the only proven commodities at the varsity level for Corona Del Sol while Saguaro has to jump all the way down to Marcos Putnam, a 2021 who played some varsity minutes last year, to find their next most proven prospect.

Del Sol and Saguaro will fill in the gaps. However, Del Sol will have the advantage in this one and move forward to the next round.

Projections

Despite having a new look, Corona Del Sol will advance to the finals to compete against tournament host, Mesa. Mesa will walk away as the tournament champs due to their experience and skill.