East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

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  • 2015 prep track and field preview series: The Hurdles

    This is the second in a five-part series previewing the 2015 East Valley high school track and field season. This installment takes a look at the top returning athletes in the hurdle events; the 100-meter hurdles for girls and the 110-meter hurdles for boys as well as the 300 hurdles for both. Coming next: DistanceGirls 100 hurdlesTop tierThe potential is there and now Autumn Smith needs to act on that potential. The Mountain Pointe junior is the top returner in the state with a PR of 14.69 set at the Chandler Rotary meet. She ran 14.86 in the prelims at the state meet before stumbling in the finals to a 9th-place finish. Her margin of error over the rest of the field in Div. I is small, so Smith will need to improve to be able to be the top hurdler by year's end.Next tierIt's not a big drop down to Gilbert's Alyisa Waite and Chandler's Arniesha Mitchell, who's personal bests are separated by just .02. Waite was the Div. I runner-up last year, running a time of 14.86 into a headwind. Mitchell was third a year ago in Div. I (14.92) and has a PR of 14.88. She'll be the best hope to continue Chandler's string of four straight state champions in the 100 hurdles.

  • Photos: DI Boys Basketball State Championship

    Corona del Sol defeats Desert Vista in the DI boys basketball state championship at Gila River Arena in Glendale on Monday, March 2, 2015.

  • Boys state basketball: Corona saves best for last in rout of Desert Vista

    GLENDALE – The word was that Corona del Sol has been taking everyone’s best shot.Not on Monday.Desert Vista barley got a clean look let alone their best shot, especially in the first half as the Aztecs’ defensive pressure dictated the game on the way to Corona’s fourth straight Division I boys basketball state title with a 57-32 win over the Thunder at Gila River Arena.“Defensively, this is the best game we have played in a long, long time,” Corona coach Sam Duane Jr. said. “All year we talked about how we had to get better defensively. I guess we saved it for tonight.”It’s the first time since Phoenix Union won four state titles in 1958 to 1961 that a big-school team was able to accomplish the feat.Corona, which has won 70 in a row against in-state opponents, was stifling on defense, getting its hands on passes, forcing the seventh-seeded Thunder (26-5) to rely on the outside shots and on the other end the top-seeded Aztecs (32-1) were smart and efficient (11 assists on 13 field goals) in the first half.

  • State basketball notebook: Stahley's second half leads Dobson

    GLENDALE – It took a bum knee but Dyesha Stahley finally played the game at the pace needed to be at her best.The Dobson senior guard led Dobson to a Division I state title on Monday, beating Millennium 58-49, despite playing with a grade 2 MCL tear in her left knee sustained in the first quarter of the semifinal win over Liberty.“She is too tough to sit this one out,” Dobson coach Tyler Dumas said. “She finally played the game at the speed I’ve been wanting her to for four years.”He can kid because Stahley and the Mustangs were able to take over the fourth quarter – she outscored Millennium 11-8 herself – on the way to the championship.“She was probably at 65 percent or so,” he said. “But she is a kid who eats right, takes care of herself and does everything we ask her to do.”Stahley, who finished with 13 points, four assists, four rebounds and three steals, had only two points at the half, but got in the flow of the game when she hit a 3-pointer near the end of the third quarter and started the fourth with another 3-pointer to close within 41-40.

  • Photos: DII Boys Basketball Championship

    Gilbert Christian defeats Arcadia the DII boys basketball championship game at Gila River Arena in Glendale on Monday, March 2, 2015.

  • State sidebar: Kuiper last to come off court, but not forgotten

    GLENDALE - With 2:49 left in the state championship game against Desert Vista Monday night, Corona del Sol senior wing Dane Kuiper walked off the floor, up to coach Sam Duane, and embraced him.Duane hadn’t forgotten about Kuiper, but it seems like a lot of others do.The Aztecs are loaded with young stars like junior guard Tyrell Henderson, sophomore point guard Alex Barcello and freshman forward/center Marvin Bagley III, but Kuiper has been just as instrumental as anybody.Kuiper finished the state championship game Monday night with a team-high 17 points, 10 rebounds and a team-high six assists in the Aztecs' 57-32 win over Desert Vista in the Division I state title game.Chants rained down for Bagley, but never once for Kuiper. He might get looked over but he doesn’t let it affect him.“It doesn’t bother me that much though because I know I can be a big impact on the defensive end and score when I need to,” Kuiper said. “When I can just do that for (my teammates) it’s great.”

  • State sidebar: Kuiper last to come off court, but not forgotten

    GLENDALE - With 2:49 left in the state championship game against Desert Vista Monday night, Corona del Sol senior wing Dane Kuiper walked off the floor, up to coach Sam Duane, and embraced him.Duane hadn’t forgotten about Kuiper, but it seems like a lot of others do.The Aztecs are loaded with young stars like junior guard Tyrell Henderson, sophomore point guard Alex Barcello and freshman forward/center Marvin Bagley III, but Kuiper has been just as instrumental as anybody.Kuiper finished the state championship game Monday night with a team-high 17 points, 10 rebounds and a team-high six assists in the Aztecs' 57-32 win over Desert Vista in the Division I state title game.Chants rained down for Bagley, but never once for Kuiper. He might get looked over but he doesn’t let it affect him.“It doesn’t bother me that much though because I know I can be a big impact on the defensive end and score when I need to,” Kuiper said. “When I can just do that for (my teammates) it’s great.”

  • Boys state championship: Gilbert Christian ovecomes adversity, Arcadia for title

    GLENDALE - Gilbert Christian has been through one roller coaster of a season and its final game of the 2014-15 season was no different.The No. 4 Knights led by as many as 13 at one point in the first half but saw that lead slip away in the second half of the Division II state title game against No. Arcadia and needed overtime to put the game away, 55-52.“We’ve never lost a close game this year,” Gilbert Christian coach Kurt Keener said. “We had five or six that came down to last shots. These kids just have so much heart. We didn’t play a perfect game. We didn’t play as well as Saturday but we found a way to win.”The Knights (25-6) led by 32-20 at halftime thanks to shooting eight-of-18 (44 percent) from 3-point range in the first half. That success, however, wouldn’t last as the Knights finished shooting zero-for-seven from three in the second half and 8-for-26 (38 percent) for the game.The Knights led 50-47 Arcadia senior forward Connor Nichols, who finished with 20 points, hit a deep 3-pointer with less than 15 seconds left to force overtime.Gilbert Christian outscored Arcadia 5-2 in the four-minute overtime to take the school’s first DII state title.

  • Photos: DI Girls Basketball Championship

    Dobson defeats Millennium in the DII girls basketball State Championship game at the Gila River Arena on March 2, 2015.

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