Girls basketball games to see this week
Here we go. The last regular season basketball games are this week in preparation for sectional tournaments (Feb. 5 through Feb. 9).
For some, it’s their last chance to get into the sectional tournament and try to win a game or two to make the state tournament (top eight teams in each section make the sectional tournament). For others it’s a chance to improve their seeding.
For everyone, we’re down to the bare bones of scheduling with no time left to lose.
(All records are power rankings games as of Monday Jan. 28; All games at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted).
Desert Vista at Xavier: The climb continues for the Thunder under interim coach Jontar Coleman with a three-game winning streak (including beating Mountain View in the MLK Basketball Classic). It didn’t come without some alleged controversy against McClintock, however, and such a repeat isn’t likely against a good Gators team. D.V. forward Kristine Anigwe will be a handful for the Gators as will the Thunder backcourt.
Chandler at Hamilton: It’s always fun when the Chandler district schools get together. Both schools (especially Hamilton at No. 5 at 14-1) are in fine shape to make the sectional tournaments and might not even need to win the one game within the tournament to make state. The Wolves have warmed up of late with four consecutive wins (including one against short-handed Desert Vista) to vault themselves back into the thick of things. Hamilton has won eight consecutive games heading into this final week. These teams will meet again on Feb. 1 at Chandler H.S. to end the regular season.
Red Mountain at Highland (Tuesday); Red Mountain at Mountain View (Thursday): Though on the fringes in Section 2 and needing to pass a couple teams, Red Mountain (No. 34 at 7-10) is still alive in getting into the section tournament, mostly because of a top strength of schedule. Martin Appel’s team likely needs to win out this week to sneak in, and these aren’t the two best teams to face when in need of a sweep. Highland (No. 2 at 14-0) stymied the Lions, 52-25, last week, while Mountain View (No. 22 at 11-4) won the first matchup this season, 62-60, back on Dec. 18. The strength of schedule will help the Lions either way, but not enough without a win or (probably) two.
Apache Junction at Campo Verde: Campo Verde is in pretty good shape either way at No. 9 (13-3) in Div. II, but a win here for A.J. (No. 27 at 11-5) would be a big boost to the Prospectors’ strength of schedule and psyche. It might even be enough to propel them into the Section 3 tournament since they’re currently on the bubble. Campo Verde had a seven-game winning streak snapped by Seton Catholic last week, but the Coyotes won this matchup on the road, 51-47, the first time around back on Nov. 30. It was among several close losses that’s stung A.J. this season (Williams Field, Arcadia, Queen Creek).
Arcadia at South Mountain: Arcadia has had another fine season in Div. II, and at No. 9 at 13-2 in the power rankings, the Titans are sitting in solid shape for postseason (despite a weak strength of schedule rating). South Mountain has won five consecutive games to thrust itself back into the mix and move up to No. 21 (10-5). This run includes a 58-54 win at Arcadia two weeks ago, though the Titans have won four consecutive games since.
Valley Christian at NW Christian (6 p.m.); Gilbert Christian at Valley Christian (Thursday at 6 p.m.): An interesting pair of matchups for Scott Timmer’s Trojans. Valley Christian (No. 8 at 13-2) has been rock solid all season in Div. III and the Trojans are against state title contenders. NW Christian (No. 34 at 9-7) would get a big-time boost with the upset win here, but the Crusaders haven’t been able to string more than two wins in a row all season, and a power rankings schedule of -4.18 isn’t an alibi. Gilbert Christian (No. 21 at at 10-5) is in fine shape to play in the sectional tournament but the Knights will be coming off a game against Williams Field (Tuesday at 7 p.m.), so there’s room rise and fall in this final week. Gilbert Christian lost to VC, 48-39 to begin the season Nov. 20., and lost to WF, 60-49 on Dec. 11.
Dobson at Highland: Preview of Div. I state semifinals anyone? This could very well be that matchup. Both teams are top-5 caliber in Div. I (Highland is No. 2 and Dobson No. 3 in the power rankings) so nobody is in danger of falling much with a loss. Highland won the first matchup, 49-47, in late November. The same type of scenario with a coin flip for a winner is going to happen again. Highland hasn’t lost since Thanksgiving tournament to Mountain Pointe, and Dobson’s loss to Highland to start the power rankings season is its only blemish. Outside St. Mary’s and Seton Catholic, these are the best Arizona high school basketball has to offer.
Mountain Pointe at Desert Vista: This is where Desert Vista’s season might have turned around. During a loss to Mountain Pointe three weeks ago, an altercation between (former) D.V. coach Jaysie Chambers-Sheppard and a player ensued. Chambers-Sheppard was basically fired a couple days later, JV coach Jontar Coleman has taken over and the Thunder have moved up the rankings ladder. Mountain Pointe (No. 6 at 15-1) has been just fine. A blowout loss to Hamilton on Jan. 18 ended the Pride’s 12-game winning streak (incl. two wins over Xavier) and MP is on a three-game winning streak heading into this ‘Tukee tussle.
Notre Dame at Flagstaff: Flagstaff is No. 7 in Div. II (10-4) and Notre Dame might be No. 17 (11-5) but this is easily a matchup of top-10 schools. Flagstaff had a rough November and early December with three consecutive losses at one points, but have won 10 of its last 11 games. Notre Dame needs to finish the regular season strong because it’s hanging onto the bottom of Section 3 tournament qualifications, and Williams Field and South Mountain are in hot pursuit.
Chandler at Xavier: At No. 10 at 10-5, Chandler can really make some hay this week between this matchup as the “sandwich” around two matchups with Hamilton (at Chandler H.S. on Tuesday and at Hamilton H.S. on Friday). The Wolves are poised to make a leap with two (or even three) wins this week, a nice tune-up in competition for what’s to come in the sectional and state tournaments. Xavier has been solid all year and playing the toughest schedule in Div. I (based on the strength # of 10.43), but at No. 12 (9-6) the Gators are still looking for a “signature” win against one of the elite. Chandler, BTW is No. 2 in strength of schedule at 9.19.
Tolleson at Chaparral: How far has Chaparral come? This game won’t be some all-or-nothing indication, but since Tolleson beat Chaparral by 35 points to begin the season, it could be a glimpse. The Firebirds (No. 24 at 9-5) are on the bubble a bit in a top-8 spot within Section 3, and a matchup against a solid Div. II school in South Mountain on Friday night won’t be easy either. Though not quite as strong as the Tolleson dynasty from the 5A Division II days, they’ve won seven in a row. A win over Westwood on Tuesday would also be Chaparral’s seventh consecutive win.
Campo Verde at Queen Creek: Similar to Notre Dame in Div. II, Queen Creek in Div. III (No. 24 at 11-5) is a bit on the Section 1 bubble after a 49-48 loss to Apache Junction on Jan. 19. The Bulldogs have rebounded since, but this is the last of three-games-in-three-days stretch for the Bulldogs, and the one they’ll need to have the most in the tank. QC is favored against No. 38 Poston Butte (Wednesday) and at struggling Combs (Thursday), but any losses there could be a dagger before even dealing with Campo (No. 9 at 13-5).
Mountain View at Red Mountain: This battle of Brown Road means something more for both squads. Mountain View shouldn’t have trouble making the sectional tournament, but the Toros’ season full of injuries and alterations is in need of a little confidence heading into postseason play. Red Mountain might be on the short end of the straw in making the Section 2 tournament unless they can beat Highland on Tuesday.
Saguaro at Arcadia: It’ll be every bit as close a matchup as the first meeting revealed (a 47-46 win for Arcadia on Jan. 8), this could easily surface again in the quarterfinals or even semifinals of the Div. II state tournament. Saguaro (No. 15 at 11-4) is on a four-game winning streak, though the Sabercats haven’t really been challenged in a game since the last Arcadia matchup, while the Titans (No. 10 at 13-2) have won four straight since a loss to South Mountain.
Tags: Apache Junction, Arcadia, Campo Verde, Chandler, Chaparral, desert vista, Dobson, Gilbert Christiain, Hamilton, Highland, Mountain Pointe, Mountain View, Notre Dame, Queen Creek, Red Mountain, Saguaro, Valley Christian, Xavier