The No. 16 seed, Corona del Sol High School boys basketball team (15-13) fell to top seed Brophy College Prep (25-1) in the first round of this year’s Arizona Interscholastic Association 6A State Championships Monday night, 57-37, at Brophy College Prep.
After narrowly surviving a play-in game Friday night against O’Connor High School, 42-41, the Corona del Sol team had trouble hitting shots against Brophy. Corona del Sol head coach Neil MacDonald said it’s an issue they struggled with all season.
“We came into it with a game plan,” MacDonald said. “We felt like we could compete with these guys and I think early on we did, we just had trouble scoring. That’s kind of been our issue, especially in the second half of the season.”
Brophy held Corona del Sol to 12 points in the first half, stifling them with their size and preventing second chance opportunities.
“They’re too good a team to miss that many shots,” MacDonald said
Miles Allen was Corona del Sol’s leading scorer with nine points. Struggling to get words out after the tough loss the senior said, “We didn’t come in with the mindset to win the game. It was a good team though, and they just got the better of us.”
Corona del Sol, the No. 1 seed in the tournament last year, lost a slew of seniors from last year’s roster.
“We had a lot of new guys, we only returned three guys from last year’s team,” MacDonald said. “We lost 46 points a game with two guys graduating last year, and so there’s a shifting of offensive responsibility.”
Brophy head coach Matt Hooten, whose kids are the new No. 1 seed this year, didn’t underestimate Corona del Sol.
“We knew we were playing a really good team,” Hooten said. “Coach MacDonald and his guys were in the state championship game last year for a reason.”
Corona del Sol ended up losing in the finals to Basha High School last year, 75-65.
Despite the loss to the No. 1 seed, MacDonald is hopeful for the future of the program, so long as the team’s offense can catch up with its defense.
“We were a better defensive team this year than we were last year, and we’re proud of that,” MacDonald. “We’re not going to go away. We’ll be back at it again next year and we feel like we’ll be one of the top programs again.”
Brophy will move on to the quarterfinals to face Perry High School at home Friday night.