December 10, 2004
After losing all five starters from last year's state runner-up squad, Desert Vista has to be considered one of the early surprises of the prep basketball season.
The Thunder finished second in the 16-team Salpointe Tip-Off Classic and on Tuesday scored a 78-66 upset of 10th-ranked Phoenix North. Desert Vista was 5-3 heading into Thursday's game against Highland with its three losses coming to No. 3 Mountain View, No. 6 Dobson and No. 8 Phoenix Brophy.
"For the youth of our team, it's pretty surprising," said Desert Vista coach Doug Harris, who starts three sophomores and a junior. "(The win over North) was a big win for us. It gave us a little confidence to think we should be able to compete with some pretty good teams."
Desert Vista has been led offensively by sophomore Garrett Lever, son of former Arizona State and NBA player Fat Lever, and senior Johnny Pinto. The team should get a boost from outside when guard Wilson Bibleheimer becomes eligible on Dec. 21 after transferring last year from Mountain Pointe. "I can't wait. That's a key for us because he's a great shooter," Harris said.
Dobson's Thurston out for year: Dobson center Drew Thurston, an all-East Valley Region first-team selection as a junior, will miss his entire senior season because of a shoulder injury. The Mustangs are 7-1 and ranked sixth in the state despite the loss of their leading scorer, who suffered the injury during football season. Dobson plays at No. 3 Mountain View tonight.
Clapp named state's best: Paradise Valley's Matt Clapp has been named the recipient of the Vic Householder Trophy which is awarded annually to the state's top high school player as determined by the staff of Phoenix Metro Football magazine.
Clapp, a fullback and linebacker who has verbally committed to play at Oklahoma next year, gained 1,033 yards and scored 18 touchdowns on offense and tallied 71 solo tackles and four sacks on defense. Clapp suffered a season-ending leg injury in the Trojans' ninth game. Clapp also will be awarded the Whizzer White Award (best running back) and the Larry Gordon Award (best linebacker). Other award winners include Hamilton's Travis Dixon (Fred Enke Award for best quarterback), Phoenix Moon Valley's Chris McGaha (Hank Stanton Award for best receiver) and Tucson Ironwood Ridge's Daniel Borg (Brian Murray Award for best lineman). Awards will be presented at the Scottsdale Quarterback Club's annual Super All-State Luncheon on Feb. 4.