Div. I boys basketball championship game outlook - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Div. I boys basketball championship game outlook

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Posted: Friday, February 24, 2012 3:01 pm | Updated: 11:46 pm, Fri Feb 24, 2012.

No. 1 Corona del Sol vs. No. 6 Cesar Chavez

When: 4 p.m. Saturday

Where: Jobing.com Arena

Records: Corona del Sol 31-1; Cesar Chavez 27-5

How they got here: Corona del Sol def. No. 16 Desert Mountain 55-43, No. 8 Brophy 69-54 and No. 5 Desert Vista 49-46; Chavez defeated No. 11 Buena 65-53, No. 3 Red Mountain 64-51 and No. 2 Pinnacle 62-58.

Last meeting: Did not play this year

Key Players: Corona del Sol: Calaen Robinson, Sr., G; Avery Moss, Sr., F; Casey Benson, So., G, Andrus Peat, Sr., F. Cesar Chavez: J.D. Reagan, Sr., G; Pablo Rivas, So., F; Will Holt, Jr., G; LJ Harmon, Sr., F.

Outlook: Cesar Chavez making the finals is a bit of a surprise, but the Champions were definitely the better team in a semifinal matchup against Pinnacle on Thursday. Chavez has a swarming, pressure defense and an up-tempo style. J.D. Reagan hit a huge 3-pointer to force overtime against the Pioneers and his offensive ability from the outside is crucial because the Corona del Sol interior defense is one of the state’s best. The Aztecs struggled in the semifinals but held on to beat Desert Vista when Avery Moss blocked Danny Powell’s game-tying 3-pointer with two seconds remaining. Calaen Robinson shoulders the bulk of the scoring load, but Casey Benson, Moss and Andrus Peat all contribute. The team is well-balanced and multi-dimensional. Chavez had the speed to get out on Pinnacle’s perimeter shooters, which really made life tough in the half-court game for the Pioneers. Corona del Sol has more slashers and Moss in the post-up game, so its offense should work better. Both teams like to run, so this game could be fast-paced, although playing in Jobing.com Arena caused both teams to shoot poorly in the semifinals. The Aztecs have been the favorites for much of the season but have a formidable foe in Chavez. If Reagan shoots as well as he did in the semifinals, Chavez could very well win it all. However, the Aztecs have the better balance and the ball-handling ability to negate the Champions’ pressure defense. Corona del Sol has won 29 straight games and should end the year at an even 30.

Prediction: Corona del Sol 59, Chavez 52

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[Stats Courtesy of MaxPreps]