There is no open division in Arizona, but it’s always fun to pick which team you think is the best of the best after all of the gold basketballs have been handed out.
This is the final Super 10 of the high school boys basketball season. A look at the 10 best teams in Arizona, regardless of conference.
No. 1 Phoenix Shadow Mountain (27-0)
Coach Mike Bibby didn’t have a true big man, but it didn’t matter. He was able to get the state’s fastest and best defensive team to press, steal passes and score in the blink of an eye in the school’s first undefeated season. It was the first big schools (6A-4A) team to go undefeated since Phoenix Greenway went 30-0 in 2009. Guards Marcus Shaver, Jaelen House and Jovan Blacksher led this dynamic team that beat four 4A teams in the playoffs by an average margin of 45 points. Now the Matadors wait and see if they’re chosen to play in the Dick’s Sporting Goods High School Nationals in New York at the end of March.
No. 2 Chandler Basha (30-1)
This senior-dominated team lost its only game in the regular-season finale, which only sparked it to the school’s first 6A championship in a 75-65 victory over Tempe Corona del Sol. Forward Gabe McGlothan was as close to a true big man as there was in 6A, doing whatever it took to help his team win. He stayed in the blocks and closed off lanes. On offense, he was tough on the boards and knocked down shots from close range. Add long, rangy guard Terrell Brown who was able to go inside and outside, and Basha had maybe the most devastating inside-outside punch in Arizona.
No. 3 Corona del Sol (26-4)
It looked like Corona del Sol was going to be back in championship lane with a hot start against Basha. But it cooled down in the second and third quarters, scoring a total of 22 points. Regardless, guards Alex Barcello and Saben Lee were great all season, doing their best to will this team back to the championship. Basha’s senior leadership was too much in the end.
No. 4 Phoenix Sunnyslope (24-7)
The Vikings won their first 5A title since 2009 without a senior. Juniors Chris Orozco and Kyle Fischer played like seniors, especially in the final, when they combined to lead Sunnyslope to a tough, double-overtime 58-57 win over Glendale Apollo, finally breaking through against a team that had beaten them twice in regular season, including a triple-overtime game.
No. 5 Apollo (26-4)
A tenth of a second late on a shot by Holland Woods separated Sunnyslope from Apollo. Had Woods gotten his shot off in time, Apollo wins the 5A championship and is talking about beating Sunnyslope three times in the same season. Led by senior guards Woods and Dre Marin, Apollo had an incredible season that included a big win over Corona del Sol in the Visit Mesa Basketball Challenge the final week of December.
No. 6 Laveen Cesar Chavez (24-5)
Between two losses to Corona del Sol, the Champions strung together 18 wins, including eliminating Phoenix Pinnacle 74-61 in the 6A quarterfinals. Point guard Donald Carter was the leader, but he got great help from junior guard Michael Rogers, who missed six games with pneumonia. Forwards Malik Porter and Kaleb Martin made the Champions as athletic as any team out there.
No. 7 Phoenix Desert Vista (19-6)
Another ultra-athletic team like Chavez, Desert Vista’s season ended in the 6A semifinals against Basha. Coach Gino Crump did a good job leading the Thunder in his first season. Wesley Harris, Caleb Simmons and Noah Baumann became the leaders of a team that last year went 14-13 and lost to Chandler Hamilton in the first round of the state tournament.
No. 8 Pinnacle (22-7)
This young team possessed the best underclassman backcourt in the state with freshman Nico Mannion and sophomores Spencer Rattler and Trent Brown, who led the Pioneers to the 6A quarterfinals. They scored 118 points in their final regular-season game against Phoenix Horizon.
No. 9 Scottsdale Chaparral (22-7)
Chaparral beat Apollo to start the season, but that was when Holland Woods was out with an injury. Chaparral lost to Apollo and Woods in the 5A semifinals, 76-62. But it was a great year for the Firebirds bouncing back from a dismal 2015-16 season when they hit a downward spiral turn in the season’s second half. Senior Colten Kresl became a great senior leader.
No. 10 Phoenix Brophy Prep (19-8)
Brophy played Basha as well as anybody, losing two close games, including a 53-46 overtime decision on Jan. 4. Senior Matthew Kempton led this big, defensive-minded team that was physical and tough. The Broncos’ season ended in the 6A tournament with a 59-53 loss to Desert Vista.
Suggest human interest stories to Richard Obert at firstname.lastname@example.org or 602-316-8827. Follow him at azc_obert.