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Boys hoops Div. I and II section tournament outlooks

Posted by on February 5, 2013 – 6:35 pm

Boys basketball section tournaments begin Wednesday. First-round winners clinch their spots in the state tournament, and the section champions have a great shot at zooming up the power rankings if they are not already near the top. Here is a look at the Division I and II sections which have East Valley participants.

Division I, Section II

First Round: Feb. 6;  Semifinals: Feb. 8;  Championship: Feb. 9

First round schedule: No. 8 Highland vs. No. 1 Corona del Sol (7:30 p.m. at Mesquite H.S.); No. 5 Dobson vs. No. 4 Red Mountain (5:45 p.m. at Mesquite H.S.); No. 6 Cienega vs. No. 3 Hamilton (5:45 p.m. at Desert Ridge H.S.); No. 7 Buena vs. No. 2 Gilbert (7:30 p.m. at Desert Ridge H.S.)

Outlook: A section championship game between Corona del Sol and Gilbert would be interesting because the Tigers won the first meeting rather easily at the Fear the Hop tournament to begin the year. The Aztecs have found their groove since then and have the top player in the section in Casey Benson. Dobson-Red Mountain in the first round should be good, and the winner could give Corona del Sol a tough test in the semifinals if and when the Aztecs get past a solid Highland team. A potential Hamilton-Gilbert second-round matchup is intriguing, but the Tigers certainly have a better draw than Corona.

Prediction

First-round winners: Corona del Sol, Dobson, Hamilton, Gilbert.

Semifinal winners: Corona del Sol, Gilbert.

Champion: Corona del Sol.

Division I, Section III

First Round: Feb. 6;  Semifinals: Feb. 8;  Championship: Feb. 9

First round schedule: No. 8 Mountain Pointe vs. No. 1 Mesa (5:45 p.m. at Chaparral H.S.); No. 5 Brophy vs. No. 4 Pinnacle (7:30 p.m. at Chaparral H.S.); No. 6 Mountain View vs. No. 3 Chaparral (5:45 p.m. at Desert Mountain H.S.); No. 7 Deer Valley vs. No. 2 Desert Mountain (7:30 p.m. at Desert Mountain H.S.)

Outlook: The top four teams in this section could all make the state semifinals, and it’s anyone’s guess how this sectional turns out. Mountain Pointe has already beaten Mesa this season, and if the Jackrabbits survive that test, a matchup with red hot Pinnacle likely awaits. Chaparral and Desert Mountain are familiar foes and could meet again in the semifinals. The Wolves have lost a pair of games recently to Pinnacle but have been one of the most consistent programs on the season. Mountain View has played better lately but has a tough opening game against the Firebirds.

Prediction

First-round winners: Mesa, Pinnacle, Chaparral, Desert Mountain.

Semifinal winners: Mesa, Desert Mountain.

Champion: Mesa.

DIVISION II, Section I

First Round: Feb. 6;  Semifinals: Feb. 8;  Championship: Feb. 9

First round schedule: No. 8 Canyon del Oro vs. No. 1 Catalina Foothills (7:30 p.m. at Amphitheater H.S.); No. 5 Sahuaro vs. No. 4 Poston Butte (5:45 p.m. at Amphitheater H.S.); No. 6 Cholla vs. No. 3 Salpointe Catholic (5:45 p.m. at Canyon del Oro H.S.); No. 7 Amphitheater vs. No. 2 Nogales (7:30 p.m. at Canyon del Oro H.S.)

Outlook: Catalina Foothills recently knocked off Division I power Cesar Chavez, and with the games in Tucson, is the team to beat. Poston Butte knocked off Catalina Foothills recently and will aim to do so again. Salpointe Catholic and Nogales are the top teams in the lower half of the bracket, and one of those two should make the championship game.

Prediction

First-round winners: Catalina Foothills, Poston Butte, Salpointe, Nogales.

Semifinal winners: Catalina Foothills, Nogales.

Champion: Catalina Foothills.

Division I, Section III

First Round: Feb. 6;  Semifinals: Feb. 8;  Championship: Feb. 9

First round schedule: No. 8 Agua Fria vs. No. 1 Sierra Linda (7:30 p.m. at Coronado H.S.); No. 5 Saguaro vs. No. 4 Shadow Mtn. (5:45 p.m. at Coronado H.S.); No. 6 Notre Dame vs. No. 3 Paradise Valley (5:45 p.m. at Saguaro H.S.); No. 7 Desert Edge vs. No. 2 Sunnyslope (7:30 p.m. at Saguaro H.S.)

Outlook: This one should be a doozy. The top five seeds are all capable of winning the tournament, and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see any of them win Division II entirely. Sierra Linda has won a remarkable 23 straight games, but a semifinal matchup with Shadow Mountain or Saguaro will be a tough test, as would a potential final against Sunnyslope or Paradise Valley.

Prediction

First-round winners:  Sierra Linda, Saguaro, Paradise Valley, Sunnyslope.

Semifinal winners: Saguaro, Sunnyslope.

Champion: Sunnyslope.

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