'C' is for consistency at Corona - East Valley Tribune: Sports

'C' is for consistency at Corona

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Posted: Thursday, January 19, 2012 4:31 pm | Updated: 5:40 pm, Thu Jan 19, 2012.

If there are any number crunchers on the Corona del Sol boys basketball team, they'll need to look elsewhere for entertainment.

Senior shooting guard Calaen Robinson is likely among the state's most prolific scorers. Power forward Avery Moss may be nearing double digits in rebounds per game. Point guard Casey Benson could be near the top of the list in assists.

They don't have any clue.

"Coach (Sam Duane) doesn't post stats about anything," Robinson said, "except for free throws."

While Gary Ernst's Mountain View model of unselfish basketball is the envy of many, the Aztecs aren't far behind.

Corona del Sol certainly has talent, as Robinson is an Arizona State commit, Moss and Andrus Peat will play college football, and Benson is one of the top sophomores in the state.

But there are other teams in Division I with similar standout rosters that haven't found nearly the same consistency this season.

Top-ranked Corona del Sol is 18-1 overall and has won 16 games in a row heading into Friday's matchup with Mesquite, using a mixture of talent and fundamentals to push it to the top. The team is 11-0 and ranked No. 1 in power points.

"You've got the best of both worlds," Mountain Pointe coach Brian Fleming said. "A lot of times teams take on the personality of their head coach, and Sammy's a great basketball mind. They're very, very good. They've got size, shooters, a point guard. I would have a hard time thinking they're not one of the top two or three teams."

The Aztecs start three seniors and have eight on the team.

While other contenders have had high-profile transfers boost their programs - like Danny Powell at Desert Vista or Maurice Kirby at Basha - the core of Corona's team has been together since they were freshmen.

"Other teams have those players coming in from different places just to see how good they can be," Robinson said. "They come together to make it a stacked team. Here, it's a family. We stay together."

Moss was sidelined for the first half of the season with a shoulder injury, and he and Peat have missed time throughout the year because of football-related conflicts. However, there has been nary a skipped beat when they get back on the court because the players already know each other's tendencies.

"It's been great to grow up together and develop that chemistry," Moss said.

It hasn't been an entirely smooth road. The Aztecs were one of the best teams in the state last year but were knocked out in the quarterfinals of the 5A-I state tournament by eventual champion Mountain View.

Robinson was pulled from a game this summer after an argument with Duane, and there have been injuries to Moss and Cassius Peat.

But as the postseason nears, Corona del Sol is playing better than anyone.

"We've matured a lot in the last year as a team," Duane said.

The goals have been high from the get-go, and if the Aztecs stay on track, they know what can be accomplished.

"When we come together as one, the state championship should be ours," Robinson said.

In a sport full of statistics, it's the only one Corona cares about. Everything else is just a number. Ask Duane what his team's winning streak is at now, and he just shrugs his shoulders.

"Honestly," he said, "I don't even keep track."

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