The current 5A power-point rankings deemed Corona del Sol and Desert Vista the best 5A girls basketball teams in the East Valley with 30.8 ratings (tied for fourth) heading into Tuesday night’s showdown for first place in the Central Region.
After viewing the game, the computer didn’t lie.
Fourth-ranked Desert Vista outscored No. 3 Corona del Sol 10-0 in the game’s final 2:40 and came away with a 64-55 victory over the Aztecs at Sammy Duane Gymnasium.
It was truly a team effort by Desert Vista (15-6, 4-0), which got a team-high 17 points and 13 rebounds from Kalei Nance and nearly double-figure scoring from all of its starters. Guard Janelle Matthews scored seven of her 13 points in the decisive stretch, including her third 3-pointer of the game, with 2:30 remaining, to put the defending region champs Thunder ahead to stay 57-55.
Matthews, a junior, has received more opportunities to score since coach Henry Bribiescas noticed her shot totals were meager the first part of the season. Her marksmanship was critical again Tuesday.
‘‘She’s still doing it, staying hot,’’ Bribiescas said. ‘‘We had her float the baseline, and when she got the ball she converted.’’
Corona del Sol (17-6, 3-1) got a game-high 25 points (18 in the first half) from junior guard Sy Janousek and 12 from junior Amy Rosenkrantz.
The Aztecs third leading scorer, sophomore Lisa Helmers, had a tough night. She didn’t score in the first half, finished with six points (all from the free-throw line) and fouled out in the final two minutes. Despite that, Corona had a 51-48 lead with 4:40 to play with Rosenkrantz and Janousek leading the way.
‘‘We expected the game to be like it was,’’ Bribiescas said. ‘‘They’ve beaten some quality teams, and we’ve played some good ones. This game was good for us. This is the kind of game you’ll see at the (state) tournament.’’
Senior guard Monique Bribiescas, who was content to feed her Desert Vista teammates in the first half, got more aggressive offensively in the second half. She scored six points in brief stretch midway through the third period that helped the Thunder break a halftime tie and lead by five. Kanisha Garrett-Carpten added 11 points and 11 rebounds, and Courtney Ault chipped in with nine points.
Henry Bribiescas liked the balanced effort he got and praised his bench for helping it happen. Eleven players contributed for the Thunder, even if some were only on the floor a minute or so. Six of the 11 scored.
‘‘Our plan was to get everyone involved,’’ Henry Bribiescas said. ‘‘We were able to keep our starters fresh and reach deep in our bench if we had to.’’