Athlete of the week: Taylor Rohde - The 6-foot-8 senior center averaged 26.4 points and four assists per game, helping Phoenix Pinnacle to the championship of the Paradise Valley Invitational. Rohde signed a letter of intent earlier this month with ASU.
Beyond the box score
Learning to fly: Gilbert Highland beat Salpointe Tipoff Classic runner-up Goodyear Desert Edge last week, then proceeded to lose back-to-back games to Mesa Red Mountain and Scottsdale Saguaro. The new-look Hawks have bounced back to win three in a row to improve to 4-2.
It’s clear that Highland has enough talent to be in the mix for a state 5A-I title, but the Hawks have a lot of work to do.
Four players — Saguaro transfer Nick Witherill, Phoenix Desert Vista transfer Chris Johnson and freshmen Matt Carlino and Nick Johnson — are new to the program. The group is in learning mode for now. Most of the attention is put on offense, where coach Mark Carlino must find enough shots for everybody, but the defense must come along as well.
“Good defense is a lot harder than it looks,” Carlino said.
Toros are trouble again: A mass exodus of talent hasn’t prevented Mesa Mountain View from playing well. The Toros trailed by one point to Glendale Deer Valley Tuesday before scoring 60 points in the second half of a win. Mountain View should improve to 4-0 tonight, but gets tough tests next week against Tempe Corona del Sol and Chandler Basha.
Bad break for Basha: Junior guard Nick Markovich is out indefinitely for Chandler Basha after suffering a broken thumb on his shooting hand in Tuesday’s game against Highland. Markovich is in his third varsity season as a starter and is averaging about 15 points a game. He’ll see a hand specialist next week.
Triple-double: Chandler Valley Christian senior guard Nate Van Weelden pulled a LeBron James Tuesday with the East Valley’s first triple-double (19 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists) of the season against Coolidge. Van Weelden was the team’s top returning scorer (12.3 points per game) rebounder (5.3 per game) and assist man (4.3) from last season.
Don’t miss: Corona del Sol (2-2) visits Gilbert (3-1) today. Gilbert won the consolation championship of the Jackrabbit Invitational and routed No. 3 Mesa on Tuesday in a shocker.