January 13, 2005
It was only two seasons ago that Coronado’s boys basketball team went winless in 4A East Sky play.
With the Dons perched atop the region standings today unbeaten, that winless season seems eons ago.
By beating Arcadia Tuesday night, 10th-ranked Coronado completed the first of two rounds in the eight-team region at 7-0.
"We were talking, and no one seems to know when that happened before," said second-year coach Bill Chrisman. "It has been a long time."
Before Chrisman took over the program, the Dons (13-5 overall) hadn’t been to the state tournament since 1992. That changed last season.
Now they want more.
"Now that they have seen all the work pay off, they want to go further," said Chrisman.
Like last season, the Dons are led by guard/forward Tareq Ramirez, who is averaging 20 points per game. They also have plenty of role players.
"They have bought into the system," said Chrisman. "They know if they give 110 percent and do the right things, good things will happen."
Vying for attention: Gaining notoriety in the 5A East Valley Region is a tough go these days if you’re not Mesa, Mountain View or Dobson. Records of 17-0 (Mountain View), 13-1 (Mesa) and 12-4 (Dobson) overshadow others.
The fourth-best team in the region, Red Mountain, is pretty decent. The Mountain Lions are 10-6 and save one bad stretch against either Mesa in December or Mountain View (second quarter Tuesday night), they might have pulled off an upset.
Red Mountain won the Navajo Generating Station Tournament in mid-December. It dropped a onepoint decision in the first round of the Gilbert Holiday Invitational to tourney runnerup Mountain Pointe, who has proven itself a top contender in the 5A Central.
Heating up: Red Mountain senior forward Nicole Childers is in the middle of her fourth varsity season for the Mountain Lions. Early in the year she wasn’t offering up much offensive help for sophomore Kayla Pedersen, the focal point of the Mountain Lions attack. Childers has scored in double figures every year of her varsity career, but until a week ago hadn’t reached that benchmark this season. Childers scored 11 points Tuesday night, helping the Mountain Lions snatch a 48-38 road win at Mountain View.
‘‘I think she might have had some senior-itis at the beginning,’’ Red Mountain coach Martin Appel said. ‘‘She’s been putting in a lot of extra time trying to get her shot back. She’s coming around.’’
Childers averaged 17.5 points a game last season and is averaging just less than 11 per game heading into Friday’s region game with Westwood.
Menacing Wolves: Last season Mesquite’s bid to dethrone Highland as 5A Fiesta Region champs was thwarted by a loss to Chandler.
The same thing fell fifthranked Mesquite Tuesday as the Wolves knocked off the Wildcats, 50-45, on Mesquite’s floor. Mesquite (17-4, 0-1) was fresh off a big win over Corona del Sol last Friday. Mesquite managed to split its games with Highland last year, but the loss to Chandler forced it to place second behind Highland. Chandler (12-6, 1-0), which has been on the edge of the top-10 rankings, dropped both its region games to Highland last year and finished third in the Fiesta, a game back of Mesquite. Another reason why the Fiesta may be have the best race of any local 5A region in 2005.
- Staff writer Les Willsey contributed to this report.