The Scottsdale Desert Mountain senior averaged 20 points a game in helping the Wolves to wins over Phoenix St. Mary’s and Glendale Mountain Ridge and into first place in the 5A Desert Valley Region.
The 6-foot-5 forward is averaging 17.2 points and 9.9 rebounds per game this season.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
Who’s hot and who’s not. That’s what it’s going to come down to with region and state playoffs coming up the next three weeks for the topsy-turvy world of 5A basketball.
Top-ranked Phoenix Desert Vista lost for the first time since the calender turned to 2008 on Tuesday when Tempe Corona del Sol pulled the upset. No. 2 Gilbert Highland, which had a 15-game winning streak snapped last Friday by Chandler, was drilled by Gilbert High on Tuesday. The Hawks still get to host the Fiesta Region Tournament next Wednesday.
No. 3 Sierra Vista Buena, the top team in the Southern Region and No. 1 in the current 5A-I power-point rankings, has suffered just one loss among the 18 games that count toward power ratings (16-1). That came against coach Tom Saltzstein’s Gilbert Mesquite Wildcats, who were tied for last place in the Fiesta Region heading into Thursday night’s final regular-season game.
No. 4 Tucson has won six in a row and nine of its last 10. The Badgers reversed an earlier loss to Tucson Salpointe, knocked off Mountain View and almost beat Buena.
Fifth-ranked Gilbert has won three games in a row beating Chandler Hamilton, Mountain View and Highland. They lost two straight prior to that.
In 5A-II top-ranked Phoenix Pinnacle has lost two in a row, bowing to Scottsdale Horizon and Hamilton. The Pioneers have to be worried about hard-charging Phoenix North. The Mustangs did not look good at the Arizona Basketball Challenge at Mountain View in late December and a tournament following that the next week. Their record in eight tourney games was 1-7. Since then they are 8-1 and are living up to the promise they showed as a very young squad last year. The Mustangs’ lone loss in that stretch was to Mesa Dobson.
AZTECS PRESS ON: Tempe Corona del Sol guard Leland Devlin underwent surgery last Friday to insert a pin in a fractured right ankle that ended his season two weeks ago. At the same time doctors repaired a torn tendon in his left ankle that may have been causing him to have back problems. The back problems idled Devlin for several games prior to the broken ankle.
Devlin led the Aztecs in scoring this season.
“We’ve had to adjust to playing without Leland, but we’re coming along,” coach Sam Duane Jr. said.
Guard Mike McCoy scored 22 points in leading a 53-46 upset of top-ranked Desert Vista Tuesday on the Thunder’s home court.
5A region tournaments (Central, Desert Valley, East Valley, Fiesta and Pima) are next week with the Fiesta kicking it off on Monday. The 3A state tournament begins Monday at NAU; the 4A state tournament opens Tuesday at the site of higher seeds with the brackets to be determined this weekend. The 2A state tournament opens Friday at neutral sites around the Valley. The 1A state tournament opens Wednesday at Prescott and Prescott Valley Bradshaw Mountain high schools.