Heading into the new year signals the unofficial halfway mark of the high-school basketball season.
At this point, a coach knows if his team has what it takes to make a championship run in the second half. Here are a few teams with championship aspirations:
Power points ranking: Sixth.
Pinnacle is one of the top basketball programs in the state and has been on the doorstep of winning a championship the last couple of years, including a defeat to Tempe Corona del Sol in the title game last year.
Coach Charlie Wilde has loads of talent, including Stanford commit Dorian Pickens, and will be in the running come February.
Power points ranking: 12th.
Central has had a winning record in five straight seasons and is off to another good start. The team is led by a couple of forwards, Antonio Love and Famoun Miller. Both players average more than 13 points per game.
Power points ranking: Second.
Mike Bibby has returned to Shadow Mountain to coach his son and revive the basketball program. Michael Bibby Jr. is averaging 18.4 points per game. Fellow sophomores J.J. Rhymes and Carlos Johnson are averaging more than 16 and 18 points, respectively, giving this team the talent to not only win this year, but in the next couple of years as well.
Power points ranking: 11th.
Jake Glatting, also the school’s quarterback, is leading the basketball team with 15.9 points per game. Thunderbird is beating the teams it needs to beat and losing close games to teams it is battling with for a playoff spot.
The players come back from winter break with three road games that could make or break their season.