Top-ranked and three-time defending state champion Tempe Corona del Sol once again is the team everybody will be chasing in the Division I boys basketball tournament as the No.1 seed.
The brackets were released Sunday afternoon and to nobody’s surprise, Corona del Sol (27-1) is the favorite.
Super Sectionals allowed sleepers such as Phoenix St. Mary’s, Mesa Mountain View and Mesa to claim one of the top four seeds because they each made it to the finals.
St. Mary’s, with a 16-13 record, is the No. 4 seed and will have a first-round bye to Saturday’s home game against the winner of Thursday’s first-round matchup between Horizon and Red Mountain.
“We have come a long way and we are finally healthy, and hope that momentum can carry us through the state playoffs, ” said St. Mary’s coach Ty Amundson, whose team is coming off a Super Sectional final loss to Corona del Sol, during which sophomore point guard Marcus Shaver scored 46 points.
Corona del Sol coach Sam Duane Jr., who has led his teams to three consecutive state championships, is just happy to have some practice time after a long grind of a season, playing three games a week.
Corona del Sol opens at home Saturday against Thursday’s Apollo-Desert Ridge winner.
“It will be good for us to just get some practices,” Duane said. “We’ve needed this time off.”
Phoenix Central is the No. 8 seed, but showed it is capable of winning the championship, putting Corona del Sol in an 11-point hole in the first half of the Super Sectional semifinal Friday before losing 66-63. It might have to begin against Laveen Cesar Chavez, a team that has beaten Central twice.
Last year, in the Super Sectional final, Corona del Sol dug out of a 20-point hole to beat Gilbert Perry.
“I wouldn’t say it was a wake-up call because Central is a really good team,” Duane said. “They’re going to be tough for anyone to beat. They play really well.”
Gilbert Christian guard Cameron Satterwhite’s late 3-pointer gave his team a two-point victory over Tempe in their sectional championship game. That tumbled Tempe to a 14 seed in the Division II tournament, which could end up working well for a team that has played a tough schedule.
Phoenix Shadow Mountain is the top seed in Division II and may have a second-round rematch at home on Saturday against Tucson Catalina Foothills. Last year, during the same round, same place, Shadow Mountain had to rally late to win and went on to capture the state championship.
But Shadow Mountain is in a tough upper bracket with Gilbert Christian possibly waiting in the semifinals.
Here are the state tournament schedules:
FIRST ROUND, THURSDAY 7 p.m.
No. 17 Glendale Apollo at No. 16 Mesa Desert Ridge
No. 24 Phoenix North at No. 9 Laveen Cesar Chavez
No. 21 Avondale Westview at No. 12 Phoenix Brophy Prep
No. 20 Phoenix Horizon at No. 13 Mesa Red Mountain
No. 19 Gilbert Highland at No. 14 Chandler Basha
No. 22 Chandler at No. 11 Phoenix Pinnacle
No. 23 Scottsdale Desert Mountain at No. 10 Gilbert Perry
No. 18 Mesa Dobson at No. 15 Anthem Boulder Creek
SECOND ROUND, SATURDAY 7 p.m.
Dobson-Boulder Creek winner at No. 2 Mesa
Desert Mountain-Perry winner at No. 7 Phoenix Desert Vista
Chandler-Pinnacle winner at No. 6 Gilbert
Highland-Basha winner at No. 3 Mesa Mountain View
Horizon-Red Mountain winner at No. 4 Phoenix St. Mary’s
Brophy-Westview winner at No. 5 Scottsdale Chaparral
North-Chavez winner at No. 8 Phoenix Central
Apollo-Desert Ridge at No. 1 Tempe Corona del Sol
Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe. Feb. 25, times to be determined
Grand Canyon University Arena, Phoenix. Feb. 28, 6 p.m. and 7:45 p.m.
Gila River Arena, Glendale. March 2, 8 p.m.
FIRST ROUND, THURSDAY 7 p.m.
No. 17 Peoria Sunrise Mountain at No. 16 Tucson Catalina Foothills
No. 24 Tempe McClintock at No. 9 Tucson Sunnyside
No. 21 Tempe Marcos de Niza at No. 12 Scottsdale Saguaro
No. 20 Tucson Pueblo at No. 13 Tucson Sahuaro
No. 19 Phoenix Moon Valley at No.14 Tempe
No. 22 Chandler Seton at No. 11 Nogales
No. 23 Cave Creek Cactus Shadows at No. 10 Phoenix Arcadia
No. 18 Tucson at No. 15 Sierra Vista Buena
SECOND ROUND, SATURDAY, sites and times to be determined
Tucson-Buena winner vs. No. 2 Tucson Cholla
Arcadia-Cactus Shadows vs. No. 7 Yuma Gila Ridge
Nogales-Seton vs. No. 6 Avondale La Joya Community
Moon Valley-Tempe winner vs. No. 3 Vail Cienega
Pueblo-Sahuaro vs. No.4 Gilbert Christian
Marcos de Niza-Saguaro winner vs. No. 5 Flagstaff
McClintock-Sunnyside winner vs. No.8 Paradise Valley
Sunrise Mountain-Catlina Foothills winners vs. No.1 Phoenix Shadow Mountain
Gila River Arena, Glendale. Feb. 25, times to be determined.
Scottsdale Chaparral. Feb. 26, 4:15 and 7:45 p.m.
Gila River Arena, Glendale. Feb. 28. 11:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m.
Gila River Arena, Glendale. March 2, 6 p.m.
FIRST ROUND, TUESDAY 6 p.m.
No. 17 Bisbee at No. 16 Thatcher
No. 24 Kayenta Monument Valley at No. 9 Holbrook
No. 21 Tucson Tanque Verde at No. 12 Fountain Hills
No. 20 Kingman Academy at No. 13 Show Low
No. 19 Fort Defiance Window Rock at No. 14 Whiteriver Alchesay
No. 22 Pinon at No. 11 Scottsdale Christian
No. 23 Northland Prep at No. 10 Winslow
No. 18 Yuma Catholic at No. 15 Tuba City
SECOND ROUND, FRIDAY sites and times to be determined
Yuma Catholic-Tuba City vs. No. 2 Phoenix Cortez
Northland Prep-Winslow winner vs. No. 7 Snowflake
Pinon-Scottsdale Christian vs. No. 6 Tucson Palo Verde
Window Rock-Alchesay winner vs. No. 3 Chinle
Kingman Academy-Show Low winner vs. No. 4 San Tan Valley Combs
Tanque Verde-Fountain Hills winner vs. No. 5 Goodyear Estrella Foothills
Monument Valley-Holbrook winner vs. No. 8 Chandler Valley Christian
Bisbee-Thatcher winner vs. No. 1 Lakeside Blue Ridge
Gila River Arena, Glendale. Feb. 26, 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m., 6 p.m.
Gila River Arena, Glendale. Feb. 27, 1:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Gila River Arena, Glendale. Feb. 28, times to determined
FIRST ROUND, FRIDAY
No. 17 Tombstone vs. No. 16 Gila Bend, 10:30 a.m., at Prescott Valley Events Center
No. 24 Willcox vs. No. 9 Red Valley Cove, 3 p.m., at Prescott Valley Events Center
No. 21 Glendale Joy Christian vs. No. 12 Arizona Charter, 7:30 p.m., at Prescott
No. 20 St. Johns vs. Phoenix Veritas Prep, 7:30 p.m., at Prescott Valley Bradshaw Mountain
No. 19 Red Mesa vs. No. 14 St. David, 4:30, at Prescott Valley Events Center
No. 22 Williams vs. Sanders Valley, 6 p.m., at Bradshaw Mountain
No. 23 Duncan at No. 10 The Gregory School, 7:30 p.m. at Prescott Valley Events Center
No. 18 Heber Mogollon vs. No. 15 Tucson Desert Christian, 4:30 p.m., at Prescott
SECOND ROUND, SATURDAY, times and sites to be determined
Mogollon-Desert Christian winner vs. No. 2 Phoenix Arizona Lutheran
Duncan-Gregory winner vs. No. 7 Elfrida Valley Union
Williams-Valley winner vs. No. 6 Fort Thomas
Red Mesa-St. Davis winner vs. No. 3 Pima
St. Johns-Veritas winner vs. No. 4 Colorado City El Capitan
Joy Christian-Arizona Charter winner vs. No. 5 Sells Baboquivari
Willcox Red Valley-Cove winner vs. No. 8 Phoenix Country Day
Gila Bend-Tombstone winner vs. No. 1 Scottsdale Prep
Prescott Valley Events Center. Feb. 26, 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m.
Prescott Valley Events Center. Feb. 27, 4:15 p.m., 7:45 p.m.
At Prescott Valley Events Center. Feb. 28, 1 p.m.