Girls basketball grabbed the spotlight last week with the Nike Tournament of Champions I in Chandler. It’s the boys turn this week, with Tempe and Gilbert the primary locales.
Sixteen teams — 15 of them local schools — comprise this year’s field in the annual McClintock Holiday Shootout, which opens today and continues through Friday evening’s title game. All games are at McClintock High School.
Heading the field is one of two unbeaten teams in 5A Division I — 10-0 Corona del Sol. The Aztecs prepped for this season with a young squad last year. They gained valuable experience from the strongest schedule in 5A in posting a 12-17 record last year. Corona still managed to finish in a three-way tie for first last year in the ultra-competitive 5A Central Region.
The Aztecs have displayed no fear in their bid to make last year’s toil pay off this season.
Thirteen of the 16 teams entered at McClintock sport records of .500 or better. Teams to watch in the title hunt along with Corona are Desert Vista, Mountain View, Dobson, McClintock and St. Mary’s.
Desert Vista is 10-1, with its only loss to once-beaten Sierra Vista Buena. Mountain View, the defending 5A state champion, is also the defending tourney champ. The Toros finished fifth out of 16 teams last week in the Iolani Prep Classic in Honolulu. Mountain View standout center Harper Kamp saw his first action of the season, playing in the final two of four games there. He scored a total of 10 points in those two contests. The Toros have been paced by junior guard Kendall Wallace.
Dobson, which was runner-up in the Matador Invitational in Bullhead City last week, is 7-4 this season and has come closest to beating Corona. The Mustangs are one of two teams that dropped a one-point decision to the Aztecs earlier this month. Hamilton is the other.
McClintock brings an 11-3 record to the tourney, one of the best marks so far in 4A Division I. St. Mary’s (5-3) is led by junior guard Jerryd Bayless. The Knights are working through the growing pains of new faces and starters after last year’s veteran squad reached the 5A final vs. Mountain View.
Rounding out the field is Paradise Valley (10-3), Horizon (9-2), Marcos de Niza (6-4), Hamilton (3-3), Basha (5-5), Saguaro (8-4), Phoenix Moon Valley (4-4), Desert Mountain (3-5), Chandler (3-6) and Highland (2-8).
The only other unbeaten team in 5A is Corona del Sol’s region rival, Mountain Pointe. The 7-0 Pride top the list in the eightteam field at the Gilbert Holiday Tournament. Play in this tourney begins Wednesday afternoon and runs through Friday’s 8 p.m. title game. All games are at Gilbert High School.
Also in the Gilbert field are the host Tigers (9-3) and Mesquite (6-3), both contenders in the 5A Fiesta Region; Red Mountain (6-4), which finished second in the Navajo Generating Station Tournament in Page 10 days ago; improved Phoenix Shadow Mountain (5-3); Westwood (5-5); Phoenix Trevor Browne (3-3); and Phoenix North (0-9).
McClintock Holiday Shootout When: Today through Friday Where: McClintock High School Players to watch: Jerryd Bayless, St. Mary’s; Mychael Broom, Marcos de Niza; Kendall Wallace, Harper Kamp, Mountain View; Dahir Nasser, McClintock; Ricky Berry, Paradise Valley; Alex Miller, Horizon; Innocent Wells, Hamilton; Mickey McConnell, Erik Hagen, Dobson; Wilson Bibleheimer, Garrett Lever, Desert Vista; Sean Imadiyi, Demetrious Earl, Corona del Sol; Nick Witherill, Saguaro; Jordan Brown, Chandler; Zach Greenberg, Desert Mountain; Nick Markovich, Basha Today’s schedule: 10 a.m. — Desert Vista vs. Horizon; 11:30 a.m. — Mountain View vs. Moon Valley; 1 p.m. — Marcos de Niza vs. Hamilton; 2:30 p.m. — St. Mary’s vs. Chandler; 4 p.m. — Paradise Valley vs. Saguaro; 5:30 p.m. — Corona del Sol vs. Desert Mountain; 7 p.m. — Basha vs. McClintock; 8:30 p.m. — Dobson vs. Highland
Gilbert Holiday Tournament When: Wednesday through Friday Where: Gilbert High School Players to watch: Eric Hipolito, Mountain Pointe; Seth Richins, Gilbert; Paul Mallory, Westwood; Will Donahue, Mesquite Wednesday’s schedule: 3:30 p.m. — Trevor Browne vs. Westwood; 5 p.m. — North vs. Red Mountain; 6:30 p.m. — Mesquite vs. Mountain Pointe; 8 p.m. — Shadow Mountain vs. Gilbert