Boys Basketball state tournament outlooks - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Boys Basketball state tournament outlooks

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Posted: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 9:47 am | Updated: 9:47 am, Fri Feb 15, 2013.

Division I

When: First round Thursday; second round Saturday; quarterfinals Feb. 19; semifinals Feb. 21; finals Feb. 23.

Where: First and second round at higher seed; quarterfinals and semifinals at Wells Fargo Arena; championship at Arena.

First round schedule (all games at 7 p.m.): No. 17 Red Mountain at No. 16 Mountain Pointe (winner plays No. 1 Corona del Sol); No. 24 Sunnyside at No. 9 Brophy (winner plays No. 8 Millennium); No. 21 Buena at No. 12 Deer Valley (winner plays No. 5 Desert Mountain); No. 20 Highland at No. 13 Dobson (winner plays No. 4 Mesa); No. 19 Cienega at No. 14 Westview (winner plays No. 3 Pinnacle); No. 22 Desert Vista at No. 11 Gilbert (winner plays No. 6 Chaparral); No. 23 Mountain Ridge at No. 10 Mountain View (winner plays No. 7 Hamilton); No. 18 Ironwood at No. 15 Marcos de Niza (winner plays No. 2 Chavez).

Favorite: Corona del Sol — The Aztecs finished the season 25-4 and won the Section II title. Corona has few weaknesses and Casey Benson has been the best player in the East Valley this season.

Contender: Cesar Chavez — The Champions lost to Corona del Sol in last year’s title game and a rematch could happen. Cesar Chavez went 27-2 during the season and has the talent to make a deep run.

Darkhorse: Gilbert — The Tigers lost two of their final three games but are well-balanced and have good coaching.

Best draw: Cesar Chavez — Neither Hamilton nor Mountain View is likely to have the offensive firepower to stay up with Chavez in the quarterfinals, and Corona del Sol is on the opposite side of the bracket.

Toughest draw: Dobson — It’s the Mustangs’ own fault for missing out on a first-round bye, but they will potentially need to knock off Highland, Mesa, Desert Mountain and Corona del Sol just to make the championship game.

Outlook: There has been a lot of parity this season, but the Aztecs have emerged as the team to beat. Pinnacle is the hottest team in Division I entering the playoffs with 13 consecutive wins, while Cesar Chavez has the best record but isn’t as well known because it didn’t play against very many of the East Valley elite. Desert Mountain, Mesa and Gilbert could all make runs, but it would be pretty surprising if any team outside of those six comes away with the championship.

Division II

When: First round Thursday; second round Saturday; quarterfinals Feb. 20; semifinals Feb. 21; championship Feb. 23.

Where: First and second round at higher seed; quarterfinals, semifinals and championship at Arena.

First round schedule (all games at 7 p.m.): No. 17 Cactus Shadows at No. 16 Notre Dame (winner plays No. 1 Sunnyslope); No. 24 Flagstaff at No. 9 Saguaro (winner plays No. 8 Sahuaro); No. 21 Canyon del Oro at No. 12 Desert Edge (winner plays No. 5 Shadow Mountain); No. 20 Coconino at No. 13 Cholla (winner plays No. 4 Paradise Valley); No. 19 Amphitheater at No. 14 Copper Canyon (winner plays No. 3 Sierra Linda); No. 22 Queen Creek at No. 11 Greenway (winner plays No. 6 Salpointe); No. 23 Prescott at No. 10 Poston Butte (winner plays No. 7 Nogales); No. 18 Agua Fria at No. 15 Kellis (winner plays No. 2 Catalina Foothills).

Favorite: Catalina Foothills — The Falcons went 29-3 during the season, won their section and knocked off Division I contender Cesar Chavez.

Contender: Sunnyslope — The Vikings came on strong with 21 wins in their final 22 games to nab the tournament’s top overall seed.

Darkhorse: Paradise Valley — The Trojans have been inconsistent, but led by Fresno State signee Paul Watson, have the talent to win it all.

Best draw: Sierra Linda — The Bulldogs will probably have to beat Copper Canyon and then Salpointe to reach the semifinals. Not a walk in the park, but not overly tough.

Toughest draw: Poston Butte — The Broncos should win their first-round game over Prescott, but then will have to hit the road to play Nogales, followed by a potential matchup in the quarterfinals with Catalina Foothills.

Outlook: This division might be even tougher to call than Division I. Catalina Foothills, Sunnyslope, Sierra Linda, Shadow Mountain and Paradise Valley are the top teams, but even Poston Butte, Nogales, Salpointe, Saguaro and Greenway have shown the ability to excel. Catalina Foothills might be the slightest of favorites but Division II is almost impossible to gauge based on the inconsistency of the regular season.

Division III

When: Second round Friday; quarterfinals Feb. 18; semifinals Feb. 22; championship Feb. 23.

Where: Second round at NAU; quarterfinals at Tim’s Toyota Center; semifinals and championship at Arena.

Second round schedule: 9 a.m. — No. 24 Winslow/No. 9 Valley Christian winner versus No. 8 St. Johns; 10:30 a.m. — No. 23 Valley (Sanders)/No. 10 Florence winner versus No. 7 Cortez; 12 p.m. — No. 22 Empire/No. 11 Thatcher winner versus No. 6 Estrella Foothills; 1:30 p.m. — No. 21 Fountain Hills/No. 12 Alchesay winner versus No. 5 Chinle; 3 p.m. — No. 20 Morenci/No. 13 Blue Ridge winner versus No. 4 Snowflake; 4:30 p.m. — No. 19 Page/No. 14 Tuba City winner versus No. 3 Scottsdale Christian; 6 p.m. — No. 18 Safford/No. 15 Rio Rico winner versus No. 2 Gilbert Christian; 7:30 p.m. — No. 17 Benson/No. 16 Show Low winner versus No. 1 Window Rock.

Favorite: Gilbert Christian — The Knights haven’t lost to a Division III opponent this season as they aim for a repeat.

Contender: Window Rock — The Fighing Scouts are 27-2 on the season and seem to be the chief competition for Gilbert Christian.

Darkhorse: Thatcher — The Eagles enter the tournament on a two-game losing streak and fighting the injury bug, but the potential is there for a run.

Outlook: The Knights are looking for a second straight title behind the trio of Sam Jones, Roberto Reyes and Dylan Bliss. Gilbert Christian has been the No. 1 ranked team from start to finish and its only losses are to Division I foes Pinnacle, Corona del Sol and Brophy. Window Rock seems like the biggest challenger, but Scottsdale Christian, Valley Christian, Thatcher, Chinle or Estrella Foothills could possibly put a wrench into the anticipated finals showdown between those two teams.

Division IV

When: First round Friday; second round Saturday; quarterfinals Feb. 21; semifinals Feb. 22; championship Feb. 23.

Where: First round at neutral site; second round TBD; quarterfinals, semifinals and championship at Tim’s Toyota Center.

First round schedule: 9 a.m. — No. 20 Tempe Prep vs. No. 13 Phoenix Christian at Tim’s Toyota Center (winner plays No. 4 Grand Canyon); 12 p.m. — No. 18 Red Mesa vs. No. 15 San Miguel at Tim’s Toyota Center (winner plays No. 2 Desert Christian); 1:30 p.m. — No. 22 Northland Prep vs. No. 11 Veritas Prep at Tim’s Toyota Center (winner plays No. 6 El Capitan); 3 p.m. — No. 17 Valley Lutheran vs. No. 16 Hayden at Prescott (winner plays No. 1 Joy Christian); No. 23 Arizona Charter vs. No. 10 St. Gregory at Tim’s Toyota Center (winner plays No. 7 Scottsdale Prep); 4:30 p.m. — No. 19 Chandler Prep vs. No. 14 Pima at Bradshaw Mountain (winner plays No. 3 Arizona Lutheran); 7:30 p.m. — No. 24 Phoenix Country Day vs. No. 9 Duncan at Prescott (winner plays No. 8 Yuma Catholic); No. 21 Bagdad vs. No. 12 St. David at Tim’s Toyota Center (winner plays No. 5 Ray).

Favorite: Joy Christian — The Eagles are 28-2 and have one of the deepest teams in the division.

Contender: Arizona Lutheran — The Coyotes lost to Joy Christian in the sectional title game but are battle-tested and talented.

Darkhorse: Yuma Catholic — The Shamrocks are only a No. 8 seed but if they can get past Joy Christian in the quarterfinals a title game berth is likely.

Outlook: Joy Christian has pushed to the top of the heap, but there are still a few teams that shouldn’t be counted out. Arizona Lutheran, Desert Christian, Yuma Catholic and Ray are legitimate title contenders. Scottsdale Prep is the best bet amongst East Valley schools to make a run.

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[Stats Courtesy of MaxPreps]