A quick rewind of the week’s boys and girls basketball highlights across the state:
Phoenix Moon Valley (14-3), taking advantage of a favorable schedule, wouldn’t surprise if it ends up with 20-plus wins and a final four appearance in the 4A Conference. It has talent to do so, namely guard Trevor Thompson, who is averaging 20 points and eight rebounds. Forward Jok Jok is an emerging player with quickness and skills around the basket. With maturity, he will fill out and become a beast. Moon Valley won its sixth consecutive game Saturday with a 53-47 victory over Peoria. Four players scored in double figures, led by Thompson’s 18 points. This might be the best Rockets team since the Richard Jefferson era in the 1990s.
Gilbert Highland girls jumped out to a double-digit lead before going cold. But it escaped Phoenix Mountain Pointe 38-37 on Hannah Cohrt’s put-back with two seconds left. Highland keeps building into a 6A championship threat with defense. “Our defense was solid and they only had 10 points at half, even after hitting a 3 at the buzzer,” Highland coach Miner Webster said. Highland (13-5) has a big week ahead with games against Phoenix Desert Vista and Gilbert.
Boys team of week
Chandler Basha, ranked No.1 in 6A since preseason, beat host Phoenix Brophy Prep in overtime 53-46 and limited Chandler Hamilton to 32 points in a 12-point win to improve to 19-0. Nobody has scored more than 46 points against Basha in its last six games. The Bears have held six opponents to fewer than 40 points this season. Coach Mike Grothaus is a Tom Bennett disciple, working the ball around for high-percentage shots and getting after it defensively. Power forward Gabe McGlothan and guard Terrell Brown are the big players, but they’ve got as good a supporting cast as there is in 6A.
Girls team of week
Chandler picked up big 6A wins on back-to-back nights against Mesa Dobson (58-39) and Phoenix Xavier Prep (50-44). It was only the second loss of the season for Xavier, which lost a close game at the end of December to unbeaten Sierra Linda. Freshman guard Victoria Mason has been a big factor for the Wolves, averaging 16 points and four steals.
Quote of year
Maricopa’s boys basketball team, led by former Phoenix Brophy Prep coach Tony Fuller, is making a huge splash. The Rams are 14-3 and feature a junior guard, Josh Johnson, a 4.0 student, whom Fuller calls, “The most talented high school player I have seen in the 10 years that I have coached in this state.” That’s a bold statement coming from the former Stanford assistant coach who watched former Mesa guard Jahii Carson drop 58 points on his 2011 Brophy team in Carson’s final high school game. Fuller said that Georgia Tech, Gonzaga, Pepperdine, Stanford and UC Irvine are recruiting Johnson. “He’s quick as lightning, smart, tough, shoots the crap out of it, drives left and right, and works his tail off everyday to get better,” Fuller said in an email. “Great kid from a great family.”
Gilbert Williams Field’s girls started region play strong with a 71-43 victory over Casa Grande Vista Grande with Lacee Jenkins, recording a rare quadruple double: 29 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists, 10 steals.
Suggest human interest stories to Richard Obert at firstname.lastname@example.org or 602-316-8827. Follow him at azc_obert.