Posted On: 11/19/18 1:19 PM
Top Half of the Bracket
Sandra Day O’Connor vs. Glendale Prep
SDO is the huge favorite in this one with Keaton Rodgers and Chase Morley running the show. Rodgers just keeps getting better and better. He is strong and physical with improved skills on the wing that will allow him to play multiple spots on the court and be a nightmare for the opposition.
Morley will be the guiding force on the team. He is a capable shooter with a high basketball IQ. Further, he will be responsible for being the floor general on the team’s top on ball defender.
Apollo vs. Greenway,
Apollo is one of the top teams in 5A and will advance from this one in convincing fashion.While they have plenty of weapons and depth, it is Emmanuel Taban and Paris Woods that make this team especially scary.
Taban has plenty of length and shoots the basketball as well as anyone in this tournament from deep. Woods is yet another knock down shooter on this team. Further, he is responsible for getting to his spots in the dribble drive offense in order to ensure that others are able to get open threes and paint touches.
Apollo is solid and is the favorite to survive the top half of this bracket.
Liberty vs. Ironwood
This is without a doubt the most intriguing game of the 1st round as Liberty and Ironwood met in the 5A State Play-In games last season. After leading the majority of the game, the Eagles found themselves down by one with 5.5 seconds left when last year’s point guard, Tyrese Eugene, hit a game winner to advance Ironwood to the next round.
While there are many key pieces gone from both teams, they both bring back plenty of talent as well. Running the guard spots for Liberty are Josh Ursery and Jacob Edahl. Ursery is one of the best scorers in the tournament while Edahl does a great job of facilitating to others. Further, Jacob Patterson will let it fly with the best of them.
The Eagles, on the other hand, have quite a bit of young and talented depth as well as a number of guys who are capable of scoring the basketball. With that said, expect Dominic Gonzalez to lead this group in scoring while seeing huge improvements from 2019s Jordan Kafoa, Cassius Carmichael, and Malik Smith.
Deer Valley vs. Verrado
While Verrado will be much improved this upcoming season with a new coach and a new system, it is safe to say that Deer Valley will move on from this one.
Deer Valley lost a good portion of an extremely deep and talented team that made a run to the state championship last year. Coming back from that team is Jaret and Jalen Allen will bring this team length and depth while Johnny Diaz will be looked to as the facilitator and primary playmaker.
Further, Brandon Savage and Jackson Leyba played key roles for the team off of the bench. Both of these guys are skilled and fill huge voids that were left from last year. This squad is stacked and ready to make noise in the 4A world.
Bottom Half of the Bracket
Slope vs. Sturgeon
Slope is going to be one of the most intriguing teams to watch in the tournament due to the departure of so many key prospects. With that said, they have plenty of talent waiting in their turn. It has finally arrived.
Zach Paloma is going to be responsible for running the show for this team. He is tough, smart, and unselfish. He is one of the top on-ball defenders in 5A, and he has elite speed. Paloma will be responsible for distributing the ball to the talented prospects on the team which includes Paul Hayden, Ivan Palomar, and Carson Basham.
Chaparral vs. Estrella Foothills
Both teams in this match-up will look quite different in comparison to last year. Foothills will still have Shaun Wahlstrom, who will be looked to for leadership and to do it all. While Chaparral will be looking to Blaise Threatt and Alem Huseinovic.
Foothills brings back the best player in this match-up; however, Chaparral brings back the most depth as they played quite a few young guys last year. While this game is a toss up, Chap comes into the game with a slight advantage.
Moon Valley vs. Peoria
This is without a doubt the most intriguing match-up of the lower half of the bracket. Both Moon Valley and Peoria will be tough teams in the 4A world. Further, both teams could play in 5A as well as 6A and make quite the splash.
Moon Valley will be led by two of the top guards in the state in Trent Hudgens and Ty Hampton. These two are going to make a lot of noise this year. Hudgens is one of the top on ball defenders and playmakers in this class while Hampton is a tremendous athlete who can make explosive plays at will.
Peoria is another one of the top teams on this side of the bracket as well as in 4A. Peoria has a nice balance of young and older talent. As far as returners are concerned who will make a huge impact for the team, watch out for Kaleb Brown and Isaac Monroe. Both of these guards made noise last year as 2019 and 2020 prospects.
In addition to these two, John Price is long and looks much improved. As far as young talent is concerned that will look to play major varsity minutes this year, Tre Bell and Kevin Kogbara.
Whoever wins this game is the favorite to advance to play Sunnyslope in the semifinals.
Rancho Solano vs. Thunderbird
While Rancho will be missing key prospects from last year’s team, they still return plenty of talent. They are headlined by Kiimani Holt and Hunter Ruck. Both of these prospects have D1 ceilings and have been key contributors for the team in the past. However, with the departures of last years key seniors, these two will have even more weight on their shoulders.
Further, in addition to these two, Tyson Legner and Brett Hardt will look to take on bigger roles on the team. Legner is a key prospect for the team due to his solid ball handling and high basketball IQ.
Top Half: Apollo
Bottom Half: Sunnyslope
The two teams from the same region find a way to play each other yet again for a title. However, this time, Apollo comes out victorious in what will be one of the most physical games early in the season that we will see.