Corona del Sol basketball routs Marcos de Niza

Corona del Sol basketball routs Marcos de Niza

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Corona del Sol basketball routs Marcos de Niza

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Junior point guard Casey Benson scored 26 points Tuesday night with a variety of moves to the basket. But it was a pass he made – a perfect lob near the rim that Bryan Siefker jammed through for two during a third-quarter flurry of points – that electrified Tempe Corona del Sol’s rabid student section the most.

“He’s very deceptive,” coach Sam Duane Jr. said of the 6-foot-2 Siefker after his team’s 71-39 rout of host Tempe Marcos de Niza. “He’s a great athlete. People don’t realize how athletic he is.”

Benson knows.

He was a maestro, steering top-ranked Corona del Sol (17-2) over its rival in the first of two regular-season, Division I boys basketball meetings.

After No.6 Marcos de Niza (14-4) fought back after an 18-9 first-quarter deficit and got within 25-19 with 3:33 left in the half, Benson got 6-foot-4 junior swingman Cassius Peat into the flow. Peat scored on two drives, blocked a shot, and Benson scored on a drive and swished a pair of free throws to give Corona del Sol a 12-point lead at the break.

Corona del Sol smothered cat-quick guards Richaud Gittens and Devin White, who each had 11 points.

“It’s a huge rivalry game and we just wanted to play as hard as possible,” Benson said.

Benson looked forward to the matchup with 6-foot-3 Gitten, who signed with Weber State. Gittens got Benson once, blocking his layup. But moments later, Benson came back, reversed and lay the ball in over Richaud with his right hand.

“We went to middle school together and we’re really good friends,” Benson said. “We’ll always be good friends.”

Last year, Corona del Sol relied on brute strength inside with football players Andrus Peat and Avery Moss.

Corona is much smaller, but the cohesion on offense and defense is as good as any Duane-coached team.

“We make sure we cover all of the little details,” Benson said.

Corona del Sol came out strong in the second half to assure there would be no Marcos de Niza comeback.

“We thought the whole key was defense, and we were really good defensively,” Duane said. “That’s a team that averages 74 point a game.

“It’s a rivalry game. So our kids were ready for this. We play together really well. They trust and believe in each other. I think that’s what it’s all about. We’re really moving the ball well. We’re making the extra pass.”

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