My thoughts and predictions on the Division I boys semifinal games Saturday at Grand Canyon University:
Tempe Corona del Sol vs. Scottsdale Chaparral, 7:45 p.m.
I was impressed by Chaparral’s toughness and unselfishness in its quarterfinal win over Phoenix St. Mary’s. It has a terrific backcourt in scorer Kenzo Nudo and point guard Brendan Hoffer, and senior forward Ryan Bayster is a physical presence inside.
But I just don’t see how Chaparral can physically match up with Corona and in particular freshman Marvin Bagley III. Phoenix Central was able to hang with Corona because its guards were lightning-quick and center Famoun Miller gave Corona fits with his ability to score inside and out. Bayster is a nice player but he’s not as physically gifted as Miller.
Also, I can’t see Corona’s Alex Barcello having another poor shooting night after going just 3 of 13 against Central.
The prediction: Corona 74, Chaparral 58
Find a game: High school basketball state tournaments schedule
Mesa Mountain View vs. Phoenix Desert Vista, 6 p.m.
This is the game that intrigues me because it’s such a clash of styles: Desert Vista’s great athletes against the great execution of Gary Ernst’s Mountain View team.
I’m guessing Mountain View is the last team Desert Vista wanted to see in the semis because of its ability to slow the game down while executing so well in the half-court set. Desert Vista prefers and up-and-down contest.
Whoever controls the tempo will have an advantage. The other key: Mountain View has enough size to challenge Desert Vista’s 6-foot-7 senior Brandon Clarke but can its bigs stay out of foul trouble while guarding the athletically superior Clarke?
The prediction: It’s too close to call but that’s a cop-out so … Desert Vista 68, Mountain View 65
2015 high school boys basketball state tournament photos:
Corona del Sol’s Marvin Bagley III wins the tip over Chaparral’s Ryan Bayster at GCU Arena in Phoenix, AZ on February 28, 2015.