Corona del Sol routs Gilbert Christian at Challenge

Corona del Sol routs Gilbert Christian at Challenge


Corona del Sol routs Gilbert Christian at Challenge


A small Tempe Corona del Sol boys basketball team got smaller a week ago after 6-foot-5 Ashton Howard blew out his knee.

It hasn’t mattered during the first two days of the Challenge at Mesa Mountain View.

After running Waterloo Collegiate Institute from Canada off the court in a 72-36 rout Wednesday, Corona del Sol handed defending Division III champion Gilbert Christian its second straight loss, 62-46, Thursday.

Corona is small, but fast, spreads the floor well for its shooters and is tenacious on defense.

It is led by junior guard Casey Benson, who followed a 10-for-14 shooting performance against Waterloo with 15 points against Gilbert Christian.

Benson struggle from the field, hitting only four of 12 shots and one of five 3-pointers. But he got help. Six-foot-4 sophomore swingman Cassius Peat, who played significant minutes in last year’s Division I championship season, led Corona del Sol (11-1) with 17 points and six rebounds.

“Cassius looked good,” coach Sam Duane Jr., said. “He gave us a good inside threat. He can put it on the floor. He’s a difficult match-up.”

Braden Tennyson had 11 and Bryran Siefker, the team’s top defender, had 10 points and a steal.

Corona del Sol jumped out to a 30-18 first-half lead as it shot 47 percent and held Gilbert Christian to 41 percent shooting.

Gilbert Christian (10-2), which lost Wednesday to Phoenix Pinnacle, was led by Sam Jones’ 16 points and reserve Cameron Satterwhite’s 12.

Corona del Sol will play Pinnacle (2-0 in the showcase) on Friday night at 7.

In other games Thursday:

Pinnacle (9-5) beat Waterloo Collegiate 70-42 without senior guard Drew Bender, who is nursing an ankle injury that caused him to miss the last three games of the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas last week. Bender could play against Corona del Sol.

Junior guard Dorian Pickens led Pinnacle on Thursday with 19 points on seven of 11 shooting. Guard Trey Ingram had 14 points, six rebounds and five assists. Ingram has given Pinnacle a big boost this season with his all-around play, making Pinnacle a triple threat with Bender and Pickens and Ingram.

Backup Ty Griffin, a 6-foot-7 junior, contributed nine points on four of eight shooting.

Jahmel Taylor had 31 points and 10 rebounds for Pacific Hills (Calif.) in a 73-67 victory over Eugene (Ore.) Churchill.

Marcus Jackson added 25 points for Pacific Hills, which is 2-0 in the showcase.

Churchill, which beat Tucson Salpointe Catholic by 40 points on the first day, got 19 points from Keidren Johnson and 17 from Emmanuel Morgan.

Toledo (Ohio) St. John ‘s Jesuit bounced back from a 58-55 loss to Gilbert with a 62-61 overtime victory over Mercer Island (Wash.).

Marc Loving, a 6-7 wing, who has signed with Ohio State, led St. John’s Jesuit with 32 points on 11 of 17 shooting. He also had three steals.

Mercer Island was led by Kaleb Warner’s 19 points and Joe Rasmussen’s 18 points and 13 rebounds.


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