As expected, two-time Arizona defending state champion Tempe Corona del Sol closed out another successful event downing host rival Mesa Mountain View in the final game, 76-68, to finish with a 5-0 record. Also as expected, Corona’s guard play dominated the action with 2014 Casey Benson (OREGON) and 2017Alex Barcello (6-1) scoring 18 and 13 points, respectively. 2015 Dane Kuiper (NEW MEXICO verbal) led all scorers with 20 points. Mountain View’s 2014 Andy Sessions (6-1) continued to have a strong tournament with 19 points in the closer.
Somewhat unexpected was the outcome of the match-up of post-players 2014 6'9" Conner MacDougall (Arizona State) of Corona and 2014 6'9" Payton Dastrup (Brigham Young) of Mountain View as MacDougall scored 15 points while Dastrup managed only nine points (with 10 rebounds). Corona doesn’t necessarily need MacDougall to score big, but if Mountain View is going to win the big games, Dastrup most certainly must contribute more to the scoring ledger.
Corona’s other victories were 69-66 over St. John Bosco (CA), 92-69 over Brooklyn Thomas Jefferson (NY), 75-70 over Mesa Dobson and 74-67 over Tucson’s Salpointe Catholic. Mountain View finished with a 4-1 record, defeating Salpointe 76-50, St. John Bosco 66-64, Houston Christian 83-49 and Gilbert 78-60.
In our opening round report we indicated Chaparral might be a year away from making some noise in the Valley of the Sun. Well, someone forgot to tell the players as Chaparral ran through four straight opponents. Behind high-scoring 2015 Kenzo Nudo (6-3) the Firebirds edged a deep and physical Las Vegas Clark (NV) squad, 66-61. Nudo paced the scoring with 24 points.
Chaparral’s very impressive showing also had them defeating Phoenix Pinnacle 75-70, Orem (UT) 67-65 and Gilbert Highland 73-68. Clark finished with a 3-1 record as the Las Vegas team defeated Gilbert Christian 67-64, Scottsdale Desert Mountain 56-36 and Mesa Red Mountain 55-43.
Jake Toolson: Brigham Young Commit
(As reported by Richard Obert of AZcentral.com. (Not sure if these are his selections or if there was a committee.)
BYU commit 2014 Jake Toolson (6-5) of Gilbert Highland seemed to have no problem scoring big-time in his four games despite some knee issues. Toolson collected 141 points for an impressive 35 points per game average to earn the Most Outstanding Player Award.
Gilbert’s 2014 Anthony Bryant (5-10) earned the Lock-down Defensive Player Award while Gilbert Christian’s 2016 Cameron Satterwhile (6-3) earned the Breakout Player Award.
Other all-tournament players included: Benson, Kuiper, Dastrup, Nudo, 2014 Dorian Pickens (6-5, STANFORD) of Pinnacle, 2015 Tyler Dorsey (6-4) and 2014 Daniel Hamilton (6-8, UCONN) of St. John Bosco, 2014 Dalton Nixon (6-8, BYU) of Orem, 2014 Sherron Wilson (6-7) of Clark and 2016 Shamorie ‘Slick’ Ponds (6-0) of Jefferson.
Overall I like Obert (or the committee’s) selections,) but I think Orem’s 2014 Cooper Holt (6-4) could have easily made the list; averaging 20 points per game and generally guarding the other team’s top perimeter player. Holt doesn’t appear to be that athletic, but he is! He’s got a great motor which leads to stat stuffing performances and W's for his team.