This has been an exciting year for basketball in the AIA Division, as the organization finally added a shot-clock amidst loads of anticipation. The AIA has now also added The Open Division for the Arizona basketball community to watch and observe, which will feature (32) of the state's best teams from the 4A, 5A and 6A Divisions - each competing for the Open Division Title. This is an amazing opportunity for us to find out who the top overall team in the state is annually, while also allowing for the best competition for each of the state's top teams at the end to the high school season.
The addition of the state's Open Division Playoffs is tremendous and takes Arizona high school basketball to another level. Receiving the top overall seed for this year's Boy's Open Division is #1ranked Perry High School (25-1). Perry has rolled through their competition this high school season and an Open Division State Championship would only cap off a terrific season for this dominant team, led by McDonald's All-American 6-foot-8 senior Cody Williams and future McDonald's All-American 6-foot-8 sophomore Koa Peat. Perry could face Pinnacle High School in a rematch of an earlier season loss, their only loss to the high school season. Perry could also face Liberty again in the Open Division semi-finals, if both teams advance. Perry is the clear favorite to win this year's Open Division, so it will be very exciting to see if what is expected actually comes to fruition.
ALA Gilbert-North (25-1) received the #2 overall ranking in the Open Division, as the program has been on fire all high school season, starting with their nice tournament championship in the early season at the Mesa Fear The Hop Tournament. The team is loaded and playing their best basketball of the season, as they have blown out most of their competition, and are primed for a nice Open Division playoff run. It will be enjoyable to watch ALA Gilbert-North compete against some of the better teams in the state, and especially in the later rounds where they could face such teams as Basha, Brophy or Peoria High School.
The Open Division playoffs will begin on Wednesday, February 8th and will include (16) different first-round match-ups. There will be numerous nice first-round match-ups which include #15 seed Bradshaw Mountain and #18 seed St. Mary's, #11 seed Basha High School and #22 seed Centennial High School, #23 seed Prescott High School and #10 seed Sunnyslope, #19 North Canyon and #14 Notre Dame Prep, #20 seed Mesa High School and #13 seed Desert Mountain and #17 Mesa Mountain View and #16 seed Pinnacle High School.
It is important to note that teams that lose in the Open Division playoffs first two rounds will have the opportunity to return to their respective Divisional State Playoffs in 4A, 5A or 6A. This week will be very exciting to watch unfold as the first annual Open Division State Playoffs take off.
Here are the complete brackets for this year's AIA Open Division State Playoffs . . .