Once opponents and now teammates, Holland Woods and Dre Marin have been practically inseparable on the basketball court since they were 13.
But respect has never come easy.
That is until this week at the Visit Mesa Basketball Challenge at Mesa Mountain View High.
After putting on a show in Tuesday night’s battle of the Division I backcourts, combining for 67 points in a 92-79 win over Tempe Corona del Sol and Saben Lee (30 points) and Alex Barcello (29), the Glendale Apollo dynamic duo combined for 42 points in Wednesday’s 89-57 rout of Glendale Mountain Ridge.
Woods, who had 35 points against Corona del Sol, had 22 on 7 of 14 shooting against Mountain Ridge. Marin, who had 32 in the Corona win, had 20 on 7 of 13 shooting Wednesday.
“We just wanted the opportunity, and we were so thankful to have that opportunity against those guys,” said Apollo coach Jacob Marin, Dre’s dad. “Those guys (Lee and Barcello) are great players. But our guys think that they’re really good, too, and they just wanted the opportunity to show it.”
While Barcello signed with Arizona and Lee with Vanderbilt, Marin (Southern Utah) and Woods (Portland State) signed with smaller Division I colleges.
They’d like to prove those schools got steals.
“It’s all right where we’re ending up,” Woods said. “We’re going there for a reason. We’re happy where we’re going.”
Marin never concerned himself with the lack of recruiting during a stellar prep career.
“At the end of the day, it is what it is, we’re already signed,” Marin said. “We can’t change that. But for us knowing and the whole state knowing, there isn’t a big difference between a high major and us. We can play at that level, too.”
Woods and Marin were rivals when they were 10.
Marin’s said he told Woods’ dad that they need to get them on the same side.
In high school, especially the past two years, they’ve become so connected that they do everything together. They spend the night at each other’s homes. They eat together. And they play basketball together.
And they hit 3s, make remarkable passes and play defense, the perfect combination for a 5A Conference team looking to capture the state championship in their final high school season together. Barcello and Lee are trying to win one more state title in 6A before graduating in May.
Woods, 6-foot, is averaging 26 points, six assists and three steals. Marin, 6-0, is averaging 21 points, five rebounds, six assists and four steals.
Woods had seven assists and just one turnover against Mountain Ridge.
“I just call them guards,” Marin said. “I don’t really call one of them the 1 or the 2. We have guards. Dre can handle it. Boo (Woods’ nickname) can handle it. Dre can shoot. Boo can shoot. They can dime. And they both play defense. They both have their unique skill set, but they give us versatility because they can play in multiple spots.”
Phoenix Shadow Mountain could make a claim as having the best backcourt in the state with the sophomore sensations, Jaelen House and Jovan Blacksher, and senior Marcus Shaver.
Apollo (13-2) lost to Scottsdale Chaparral 67-62 the first week of the season when both Marin and Woods were out.
Its only other loss was to national all-star team Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep.
Apollo won’t have a chance to play unbeaten Shadow Mountain, which competes in 4A.
They didn’t get into any holiday tournaments together and they won’t meet in the regular season.
“We tried to get games with Corona and Shadow the last two years,” Jacob Marin said. “We got one with Corona last night. We felt blessed to get that opportunity.”
And they’ve left no doubts.
In Wednesday’s other games:
Alex Barcello had 23 points and six assists, leading Corona del Sol past Gardena (Calif.) Serra 77-68. Saben Lee added 17 points for the Aztecs.
Chandler Basha improved to 15-0, its best start in school history, with a 69-37 rout of Sandy (Utah) Alta, as forward Gabe McGlothan had 18 points and guard Terrell Brown added 12 points.