Top ten high school sports moments from 2012 - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Top ten high school sports moments from 2012

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Posted: Friday, December 28, 2012 3:26 pm | Updated: 7:55 pm, Fri Jan 17, 2014.

As 2012 winds down, it’s time to take a look back at what helped shape it. These are the Tribune’s 10 most memorable high school sports moments from the past calendar year:

National champions: The St. Mary’s girls basketball team was the prohibitive favorite to win last year’s Division I state championship, and did so easily with a 65-40 victory over Hamilton in the finals, but the Knights’ dominance wasn’t contained within Arizona state lines. St. Mary’s went 4-0 and won the prestigious Joe Smith division at the Nike Tournament of Champions in December of 2011, which put it among the elite teams nationally. Once the Knights finished off a 30-0 season with the state title, they were named the best team in the country by USA Today.

Death of Scot Bemis: Notre Dame was quickly transformed into a football powerhouse under the direction of coach Scot Bemis. He led the Saints to state championships in 2007 and 2008 and went 57-32 in his eight seasons at the helm. He also coached girls soccer at the school and led the Saints to a state title and a runner-up finish in that sport. However, Bemis took a leave of absence to fight lung cancer following a win over Barry Goldwater on Sept. 16, 2011 and his condition deteriorated. His life was cut tragically short on Jan. 22 at the age of 45. He is beloved at Notre Dame and will have the school’s new football field named after him.

The fall of Basha boys basketball: Everything seemed great at Basha when the calendar hit 2012. The Bears’ boys basketball team had three Division I-bound juniors who had led the team to a 12-1 record, and they seemed to be zeroing in on a run at the state championship. However, Basha’s chemistry crumbled and it lost four of five games to end the season, losing in the second round of the state tournament to Perry. Bears coach Brad Pinter was forced to resign after the season, and then stars Jaron Hopkins and Torren Jones transferred from the school.

Sanders and Ragle go to college: The Saguaro and Chaparral football teams wrapped up 2011 in familiar fashion — with state championships. It was the fifth in six years for the Sabercats and third in a row for the Firebirds. Soon after, though, both would be making coach changes. Saguaro fired coach John Sanders for a series of off-field incidents, while Charlie Ragle left Chaparral to join the football program at Arizona. Sanders eventually was hired by Arizona State.

Power points flaw: The lead-up to last year’s basketball playoffs was a mess once a flaw in the power points formula was realized by a local engineer. The mistake allowed for teams to get rewarded for playing in extra games, which changed the playoffs seeds and participants. Sectional tournament games caused great fluctuations in the standings and impacted every team in Arizona. Although the Arizona Interscholastic Association never confirmed the flaw in the system, the formula was tweaked for the spring season and a new formula was enacted for the 2012-13 school year.

Coaching milestones: Two of the best basketball coaches in the business reached impressive wins marks. Seton Catholic girls coach Karen Self notched win No. 500 last season and led the Sentinels to a third straight state championship. It was the most impressive of the bunch, doing it in a year when Seton was thought to be rebuilding. Mountain View coach Gary Ernst picked up career win No. 775 with a first-round playoff victory over Rincon, the most wins in Arizona boys basketball history.

Dylan Cozens’ walk-off blast: The Chaparral slugger didn’t have the smoothest of high school experiences, getting kicked off the Desert Mountain baseball team and missing the tail end of his junior year. He was originally ruled ineligible for 365 days after transferring to Chaparral, but was allowed to begin playing at the start of his senior season with the Firebirds. Cozens returned with a vengeance, hitting .520 with a state-best 19 home runs. He saved his best for last, hitting a walk-off, opposite field two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat Brophy in the Division I championship game.

Red Mountain softball dynasty: The Mountain Lions are clearly the class of Arizona, as they captured a third straight state championship in May with a 5-2 title game victory over Basha. It was the fourth consecutive championship game appearance for Red Mountain, and the three titles in a row sets a new standard among teams in the state’s largest classification level. Coach Rich Hamilton has plenty of talent returning and this juggernaut doesn’t look like it will be slowing down any time soon.

Hamilton gets back on top: The Huskies’ football program was shocked in the 2011 title game when Desert Vista dominated from start to finish. This 2012 season didn’t begin any better, as Hamilton lost its first two games of the year. However, the team found its bearings and ran the table the rest of the way, defeating Mountain Pointe for the Division I state title. The scary part: The Huskies were very young and should be even better next season. After a slight bump, order has been restored in the big-school football scene.

Devon Allen dominates the hurdles: The Brophy two-sport standout is a highly-recruited college football prospect, but he is truly elite on the track. Allen set the world on fire as a junior, setting state records in both the 110-meter high hurdles (13.52 seconds) and 300-meter hurdles (36.36 seconds) and ran the 200 in 20.75 seconds, which was the 11th-fastest mark nationally. Allen is ranked No. 3 in the world among high school hurdlers.

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[Stats Courtesy of MaxPreps]