Apollo’s boys basketball team got off to 12-2 start, thanks to balanced scoring and the emergence of 6-foot-2 junior guard Chris Hakilimali.
Hakilimali was averaging a team-leading 17.4 points a game. He had 30 points against Surprise Shadow Ridge this season.
Apollo came into the Dec. 27 semifinal against Tucson Sahuaro in the Alvarez Tire Holiday Hoops Classic at Prescott Valley Bradshaw Mountain riding a 10-game winning streak.
Apollo will have a better idea of how good it is on Tuesday, Jan. 7, when it plays Phoenix Sunnsylope, a top-10 team in Division I.
Last year, the Hawks lost five of their first seven games and finished 14-11, missing out on the state tournament.
Hakilimali led the Hawks in scoring last season with 10.8 points a game.
This year, he has more support. Danny Babadhanov and Tre Johnson both are averaging 10 points. Babadhanov has made 22 of 66 3-pointers.
Deer Valley making progress
Deer Valley handed top-ranked Division IV Scottsdale Prep its first loss in the first round of the Cave Creek Cactus Shadows tournament last week with a 66-39 rout.
Deer Valley improved to 9-4 with a tough defense that limited Scottsdale Prep to just 14 first-half points.
Ironwood’s go-to player
Ironwood junior guard Sierra Adams was among the state’s top scorers in Division I girls basketball last week, averaging 16.6 points a game.
The 5-foot-7 Adams had at least 21 points in three of her past four games.
Adams leads a team that won nine of its first 15 games. But it won five of six games during a two-week span that included a 43-37 win over Phoenix Thunderbird.
Independence junior forward Stormie Ranger was not far behind Adams among the top Division I girls scorers, averaging 15.5 points. She also was averaging more than 10 rebounds a game.