Highlights of the upcoming week in varsity sports:
Mesa, the top-ranked team in 5A-I, will look to put a stranglehold on the Fiesta Region title in a game on Tuesday at Hamilton.
The Jackrabbits are 4-0 in region play while the Huskies are 3-1. If Hamilton loses, no team will be within two games of Mesa.
Other games of note on Tuesday include: Red Mountain at Desert Vista featuring two teams on the postseason bubble; Mountain View at Corona del Sol; and Saguaro at McClintock in which the Chargers can take another step toward clinching the 4A Desert Sky Region.
On Friday, 4A-II No. 4 Arcadia plays at No. 5 Seton, 5A-I No. 4 Mountain View hosts No. 5 Mesquite, and 5A-II Horizon travels to Chaparral.
A pair of games involving top teams in the 5A Central and 5A Fiesta regions highlight Tuesday’s schedule. Third-ranked Dobson (5-2 Central) visits top-ranked Gilbert (6-1 Central). Gilbert is in first place and Dobson second in the region standings. Gilbert has beaten Dobson twice, once at the Highland Thanksgiving Tournament in November and earlier this month in a region game.
Chandler (4-0) finishes the first round of Fiesta Region play traveling to Xavier (2-1). Xavier also must finish a suspended game with Hamilton at Xavier on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Other Central Region contenders Highland (4-2) and Mountain View (5-2) try to stay up with Gilbert and Dobson. Highland visits Mesquite and Mountain View entertains Corona del Sol.
On Thursday Mountain View takes to the road to face Chandler in a non-region game rescheduled from December due to a scheduling conflict. Mountain View is ranked No. 4 this week in 5A-I and Chandler is ranked No. 5.
Top game of the evening on Friday pits Desert Vista (1-3) at Hamilton (3-1) in the Fiesta Region. Desert Vista has lost three region games by a total of eight points (Hamilton, Chandler and Xavier).
Last week’s rainouts on Wednesday and Thursday have created havoc this week, the final regular-season week of the season. Most teams have to play four matches and Desert Vista is slated to play five times between last Saturday and Friday.
Some rain is in the forecast Wednesday but the hope is it won’t affect the matches. With the state tournament scheduled to begin Tuesday, nearly all of the Fiesta, Central and Desert Valley region schedules will be jam-packed this week which means every match will cause significant movement in the power point rankings.
Tucson Salpointe has stretched its hold on the No. 1 spot while a battle will be underway for the final postseason berths. Mountain View, Basha, Chandler, Mesquite, Desert Ridge and Dobson are all tussling for the final few spots.
No. 1 Pinnacle and Perry have all but wrapped up first-round home games, while Horizon sits at No. 17 (one spot out) but must face Desert Mountain and Pinnacle this week.
The script is nearly identical on the girls side, with rainouts plaguing the schedule and ensuing hysteria to get all the matches in on time.
And similar to the boys, the Fiesta is going to make its teams exhausted this week with premium matches nearly every day.
With each of those schools playing four times in a six-day period, the seeding spots are going to change daily the rest of the way.
No. 2 Hamilton travels to No. 3 (tied with Highland) Xavier for what could be a state championship match preview on Monday night as a makeup match from last week’s rainouts.
In the Central Region, it’s another big-time Gilbert schools clash between the No. 1 Tigers and host-No. 3 Hawks on Tuesday.
Desert Mountain, Horizon and Marcos de Niza are one win away from securing a home playoff game in 5A-II, and Pinnacle must beat the Wolves and Huskies on Wednesday and Friday, respectively, to have a chance at a top-8 seed.
McClintock might need to win at No. 2 Cactus Shadows in its regular-season finale on Friday to grab a final playoff spot in 4A-I. And No. 8 Notre Dame must play four games this week as the Saints try to hold onto a future home postseason match.
This is the final week of regular season action in wrestling, as the 4A conferences hold their regional meets next week and the state tournaments begin the following week.
One bit of good news for some teams is that Payson is attempting to reschedule the Payson Invitational for this weekend. The meet was cancelled due to the weather and a mudslide that closed Hwy 87. The meet would presumably be held on Friday and Saturday, but no formal announcement has been made.