Girls basketball games to see this week
The nitty-gritty and schedule-cramming continue this week with three weeks left in the girls basketball regular season before sectional tournaments begin.
Plenty to watch this week so let’s get to it.
(All power rankings records as of Monday morning and all games at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted):
Chandler at Dobson: Chandler has crept its way up the rankings (No. 16 at 6-4) with three consecutive wins, including wins against rival-Basha and Perry, and an interesting 30-28 win against Mountain View. A win here against a really good Dobson team would really vault Chandler up the ladder with games vs. Corona del Sol (Thursday) and at Desert Vista (Friday) this week. The Mustangs (No. 9 at 9-1) have gotten improved shooting from their backcourt since returning from holiday break. The Wolves defense will put that to the test, along with Dobson’s patience. Dobson is at Desert Ridge and at Gilbert later this week.
Marcos de Niza at Corona del Sol: Both schools need to make a move to secure a spot in their respective sectional tournaments in Div. I. Marcos (No. 31 at 5-5) and Corona (No. 32 at 3-5) have had trouble getting in a groove, often winning a game or two and then falling to a top team. Two wins this week are a must for the Padres with Mountain View looming next week, followed by another chance to win 2-3 games in a row after that. The Aztecs are trying to snap a two-game skid here, with Chandler coming up on Thursday. Next week will be particularly painful for Corona schedule-wise (Mesquite, Mountain Pointe, Hamilton).
Sandra Day O’Connor at Desert Vista: Strange, sad times around D.V. this week as an altercation during the Mountain Pointe game last week appears to have been the end of D.V. coach Jaysie Chambers Sheppard’s tenure with the Thunder. JV coach Jontar Coleman likely to be the interim coach for D.V. the rest of the season. The Thunder (No. 20 at 6-5) are about to begin an extremely difficult ending to their regular season schedule, so this game is important for that reason, not to mention how the girls respond to such adversity thrown upon them.
Hamilton at Red Mountain: Despite upcoming dates with Mountain Pointe, Perry (twice) and Chandler (twice), Jeff Kain’s Huskies are in pretty good shape (No. 10 at 8-1), though outside St. Mary’s and perhaps Chandler, the strength of schedule in power rankings games isn’t helping Hamilton’s cause. Red Mountain has a bigger mountain to scale. The Lions (No. 30 at 6-5) need wins this week because four of the final five games of the Lions’ season are Mountain View, Highland twice and Dobson. Yikes.
South Mountain at Arcadia: This figures to be the most challenging for Arcadia (No. 11 at 8-1) with three games in four days this week. South Mountain (No. 33 at 6-5) has two wins against Tempe, played Red Mountain tough in a loss to the Lions, beat Deer Valley and Mountain Ridge both in tournament play and only lost to Seton Catholic by seven points late last week. Notre Dame, Paradise Valley and South Mountain again are coming up next week.
Williams Field at Queen Creek: The Black Hawks (No. 21 at 6-3) are a perfect “bubble” team in Div. III both for the sectional tournament and state tournament. WF (No. 21 at 6-3) has a rough week with Queen Creek and then Seton Catholic on Wednesday. QC (No. 18 at 7-2) also has Higley and AJ but those two won’t help the rankings a lot even with victories.
Notre Dame at Fountain Hills: A cross-division matchup, Div. II Notre Dame (No. 8 at 9-2) beat Fountain Hills, 49-47, in early January. The Saints are on a four-game winning streak since Winter Break tournaments, and have an interesting final couple weeks, a mix of tough matchups and winnable games. Beside Fountain Hills, Arcadia and Flagstaff are among the interesting matchups left.
Desert Ridge at Highland: This is the start — albeit not a good way — to begin the stretch drive for Desert Ridge if it wants to get into the sectional tournament, let alone win a couple games which might be necessary to make the state tournament. Now to be Donnie Downer for the Jaguars: Dobson (Tuesday), Highland (Wednesday), Basha (Friday), Highland (Jan. 22), Basha (Jan. 24), Red Mountain (Jan. 25).
Saguaro at Seton Catholic: After Tempe (Tuesday), Saguaro (Wednesday), Williams Field (Friday) and Campo Verde (Jan. 22), Seton Catholic (No. 1 at 11-0 in Div. II) has a good chance of running the table and being undefeated in power rankings games if it gets through that four-game stretch. Saguaro (No. 23 at 7-3) has a much more difficult road ahead, but the Sabercats have Seton’s full attention after a 60-53 decision went Seton’s way in December and Manhandled Desert Mountain late last week after the Sabercats lost consecutive games by one point.
Mesquite at Highland: Mesquite (No. 18 at 6-5) and coach Candice Gonzales would love nothing more than to pull of this upset and deny Highland coach Miner Webster his 700th career victory (not that he really cares) in East Valley high school basketball. Gonzales played for Webster at Gilbert High two decades ago. This and Chandler are probably the toughest games left on the schedule for Mesquite in trying to get a sectional/state tournament spot. If the ‘Cats can’t win here they need to beat Corona del Sol twice, Gilbert and Desert Ridge.
Red Mountain at Mesa: A little rivalry coupled with both schools in need of making a surge should make for a good night. The cherry on top being Red Mountain won the first matchup between these teams, 34-33, at the end of November. The Jackrabbits (No. 39 at 6-5) have a rough go next week with Mountain Pointe and Mountain View, so it could be too little, too late. Unless Mesa gets a win here and against Nogales and Marcos de Niza to end the regular season. Hamilton on Tuesday is only a crumb in the cake for the Lions (No. 30 at 6-5) when it comes to really having it rough the rest of the way, so this is an absolute must-win game.
Horizon at Pinnacle: The Pioneers (No. 6 at 10-0) are in fine shape as they head toward a showdown with St. Mary’s on Jan. 21 at the MLK tournament at Wells Fargo Arena. Not quite so much for Horizon (No. 25 at 6-2) which will see Pinnacle again in a few days, plus Chaparral twice, although the Huskies should be in OK shape with a .500 mark the rest of the regular season. A signature win, however, is needed and what better than Pinnacle?
Hamilton at Perry: It’s pretty relentless for Hamilton (No. 10 at 8-1) the rest of the way. Starting with Red Mountain on Tuesday, it’s Perry, a biggie against Mountain Pointe on Friday, Basha next week and Chandler in two of the Huskies’ final three games of the season, with a Perry redux sandwiched in between those two Chandler tilts. Perry (No. 43 at 4-6) is fighting for its life and even that might be too late depending on sectional standings.
Arcadia at Apache Junction: With Notre Dame, Paradise Valley and Saguaro upcoming, the Titans (No. 11 at 8-1) have some work to do in getting a high seed in the sectional tournament. Traveling out to Apache Junction (No. 26 at 8-3) isn’t easy and the Prospectors are also fighting for their postseason chances. Games such as this one, plus Williams Field, Campo Verde and Queen Creek will determine if/where AJ goes.
Chaparral at Horizon: Horizon’s situation has been chronicled. Chaparral (No. 26 at 4-4) is reaping indirect rewards from its difficult schedule. Most .500 teams in power rankings aren’t this high, but the Firebirds have played Pinnacle, Tolleson, Horizon, Mountain Pointe (tournament game), Xavier (twice) and Notre Dame. A sweep this week won’t necessarily vault Chaparral a long way given the lack of scheduling strength in its opponents, but it’ll sure help with Desert Mountain, Horizon, Tolleson and South Mountain coming.
Chandler at Desert Vista: Swing games like this need to go Chandler’s (No. 15 at 6-4) way with the likes of Hamilton twice, Xavier and Perry coming up. Desert Vista (No. 20 at 6-5) needs this in a big way with Mountain View, Xavier and Mountain Pointe and two others remaining. The Wolves won the first go-round, 66-49, back in early December.
Mountain Pointe at Hamilton: Chandler-DV might have more on the line bigger picture for each of those teams, but this is probably the game of the night. Mountain Pointe (No. 3 at 11-0) has tournament wins against Highland, Xavier, Corona del Sol and Desert Vista, so there are legit. Hamilton (No. 10 at 8-1) has a frontcourt and athleticism will cause problems for most. It’s the third of a three-game-in-four-day week for Hamilton, which still has Chandler twice.
Red Mountain at Mountain Ridge: The past few weeks have been a nightmare for the Lions, with losses in four of its past five games (including a gut-wrencher to Mountain View), plus the aforementioned slaughterhouse schedule to end the year. Mountain Ridge is no slouch. these Lions (No. 28 at 5-4) almost beat Highland (25-20) and Chaparral (48-47), and, have a good chance to run the table after this game.
Seton Catholic at Williams Field: Let’s focus on Williams Field (No. 21 at 6-3). Already coming off a tough game against Queen Creek, the Black Hawks lost to Seton Catholic in late November during Highland’s Thanksgiving tournament, then again in early December. Both losses were by double digits. Queen Creek again next week followed by Campo Verde are difficult. Otherwise the Black Hawks have a chance to finish, say, 6-2 or 5-3. Will it be good enough?
Tags: Apache Junction, Arcadia, Campo Verde, Chandler, Chaparral, Coronal del Sol, Desert Ridge, desert vista, Dobson, girls basketball, Hamilton, Highland, Horizon, marcos de niza, Mesa, Mesquite, Mountain Pointe, Perry, Queen Creek, Red Mountain, Saguaro, Seton Catholic, williams field