HS Rewind: What we learned in Arizona boys basketball Jan. 10-14

·6 min read
Jan 13, 2022; Glendale, AZ, United States; Deer Valley celebrates a buzzer beater shot in the first quarter against Notre Dame Prep during a game at Deer Valley High School. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Breen- The Republic
Jan 13, 2022; Glendale, AZ, United States; Deer Valley celebrates a buzzer beater shot in the first quarter against Notre Dame Prep during a game at Deer Valley High School. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Breen- The Republic

The stars rose to the occasion making statements all across Arizona in a pivotal week of high school boys basketball.

There were gut-check moments. Prolific scoring. Clutch shots. And great comebacks.

Let's run it down and look ahead:

Biggest takeaway

Phoenix Brophy Prep was a really good team before 6-foot-6 wing Arman Madi returned last week from an injury. Now it is a really great team. That was shown Friday night in a decisive 56-39 home victory over Gilbert Perry, which was ranked No. 1 in The Arizona Republic's Super 10 the last few weeks.

Madi's return adds to a deep team. He had 21 point on 7 of 9 shooting, including 5 of 6 3-pointers against Perry, which tries to stack the paint with 7-foot Dylan Anderson, 6-8 Koa Peat and 6-7 Cody Williams.

Brophy ran its record to 15-2 with its only in-state loss coming to defending 6A champion Phoenix Sunnyslope, 43-40, on Dec. 3.

Jan 7, 2022; Phoenix, AZ, United States; Brophy Prep's Arman Madi (23) makes a layup against Basha during a game at Brophy Prep. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Breen- The Republic
Jan 7, 2022; Phoenix, AZ, United States; Brophy Prep's Arman Madi (23) makes a layup against Basha during a game at Brophy Prep. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Breen- The Republic

"Our depth helped us to weather some injuries early in the season, but we finally suited up our whole roster for the first time last week," coach Matt Hooten said. "Getting Arman back after six weeks has been a huge lift for us and a credit to the hard work he put in to make sure he was ready as soon as he was cleared."

Not only was Madi incredibly efficient scoring against Perry, but he found open teammates for good shots.

"He had some really timely steals on the defensive end of the floor," Hooten said.

This has the makings of the best team Brophy Prep ever has had. The Broncos still are looking for that elusive state championship in basketball. They lost their only game to Tempe McClintock in 1986 in the state championship game. They lost to St. Mary's in the 2001 state final and to Mesa Mountain View in the 2011 state final in their other two state final appearances.

"Our goal is to always play our best game of the season in our next game on the schedule, and our players have really embraced that challenge," Hooten said.

Best run

Glendale Deer Valley didn't come into the season with much fanfare. But that's typical of Jed Dunn teams. He doesn't hype his team. He has the Skyhawks always playing hard and sharing the ball. There are no egos on the floor. It's one for each other and all for one.

Jan 13, 2022; Glendale, AZ, United States; Notre Dame Prep and Deer Valley compete during a game at Deer Valley High School. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Breen- The Republic
Jan 13, 2022; Glendale, AZ, United States; Notre Dame Prep and Deer Valley compete during a game at Deer Valley High School. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Breen- The Republic

Again, they showed they might be able to give the 4A heavyweights of Phoenix St. Mary's, Surprise Paradise Honors and Tucson Salpointe Catholic a run with Friday's 64-56 win over Scottsdale Notre Dame in a battle of the top two ranked 4A teams in the Arizona Interscholastic Association's playoff seeding power points.

Semajay James led the Skyhawks with 22 points, as they won their their 14th consecutive game to improve to 14-3 overall.

"The key to anything we try to do is defending, rebounding and shot selection," Dunn said. "The win was a step toward some of our goals."

Notre Dame was on a good run behind sophomore Anthony Batson, Jr., but he was held to eight point. The Saints were led by Bryce Quinet's 21 points and Brennan Peterson's 14 points.

Biggest upset

Chandler Valley Christian posted some pretty big wins to become the No. 1 ranked team in 3A. The Trojans had beaten the No. 1 4A team, Notre Dame Prep, 76-51, in late November. They beat 6A Mesa Desert Ridge 63-40 in late December. They beat the top-ranked team in 2A, taking down Scottsdale Christian 50-46 last week.

But Friday night, they fell to American Leadership Gilbert North 74-69 in a 3A Metro Region game. ALA Gilbert North improved to 13-7 win the win. The Eagles lost to Scottsdale Christian 58-30 to open the season. They suffered double-digit losses to Marana, Gilbert Christian, Northwest Christian and Scottsdale Rancho Solano Prep.

They've been led all season by freshman guard Dylan Novak, who is averaging 18 points a game.

Best clutch moment

That belongs to Gilbert senior guard Nikko Pentelute, whose floater in the lane at the buzzer in the second overtime beat Gilbert Campo Verde 67-65 on Wednesday night. Making big plays down the stretch is nothing new for Pentelute, who did it against McClintock and Hamilton on the Tigers' way to the McClintock Holiday Shootout tournament title.

Best stat lines

This is a tough one, but what Kevin Patton Jr., did in Maricopa's win over Queen Creek on Thursday would be hard to top. He had 21 points, 10 rebounds and 11 blocked shots in his first triple-double.

Then, again, it's hard not to consider what Glendale Apollo's Ahamed Mohamed, Glendale Mountain Ridge's Logan Hopkins and Phoenix St. Mary's sophomore point guard Styles Phipps did.

Mohamed, a senior guard, had 30 points and 11 rebounds in Monday's win over Peoria Centennial and 39 points in rout of Peoria Sunrise Mountain that ended the Mustangs' 16-game winning streak on Thursday. That was still eight points short of his single-game total of 61 points last week in a game.

Hopkins, a senior guard who has NBA 3-point shooting range, averaged 31.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in games against Boulder Creek and Peoria Liberty, making 59% of his 3-pointers. Against Liberty, he had 36 points and made 10 of 14 3-pointers.

Phipps had 30 points and 17 assists in a 108-86 rout of Tempe on Friday night. He was one of three Knights who had double-doubles. Garrison Phelps had 22 points and 10 rebounds and Jeremiah Cherry had 18 points and 11 rebounds.

Best statement

Following a 66-47 loss to Perry on Tuesday, Chandler Basha (13-4) came out fired up and beat Chandler Hamilton (13-4) 56-42 on Thursday. Basha can play fast or slow it down and it seems that it was able to control tempo against Hamilton and its tremendous athletes.

Looking ahead

On Martin Luther King Day on Monday, McClintock is hosting games in the MLK Dream Classic run by Monarch Sports. There are three girls games, followed by two boys games. Because Scottsdale Saguaro had to pause its season due to COVID-19, the Saguaro-Marcos de Niza boys basketball game has been canceled with Marcos de Niza unable to find an opponent. Sunnyslope will play Desert Vista at 4 p.m., followed by host McClintock against Gilbert Higley at 5:30.

There are a total of 28 boys varsity games slated for Monday, including a key 4A game between Glendale Cactus and Deer Valley that night.

To suggest human-interest story ideas and other news, reach Obert at richard.obert@arizonarepublic.com or 602-316-8827. Follow him on Twitter @azc_obert.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: What we learned in Arizona high school boys basketball Jan. 10-14

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