Author: George Courtney

In an exciting atmosphere, the Nogales Apaches traveled to the Sunnyside Blue Devils for a Friday Night Showdown. The gym was packed with fans from both sides, as it was a battle of two of the stronger big school programs in Southern Arizona. Sunnyside brought in a #16 6A Ranking (Open Unranked) and Nogales put their #6 5A Ranking (#22 Open) on the line.  From the get go, both teams battled physically, nearly trading baskets back and forth with multiple lead changes. Players diving for loose balls and tying each other up, this game was a making of a Instant…

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Deer Valley is on a quest to pick up where they left off last season, after an upset in the 4A State Playoffs 2nd Round. A major contributor to the team’s success over the last two seasons is the strong play of guard Eliyah Brosseau. Broosseau is averaging 9.7 points, 3 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.3 steals per game.  Head Coach Dawn Almazan had this to say about her, “Eliyah is a true general on the floor,” said Almazan. “She is our silent leader as she leads by example. When she does speak to the team, everyone is quiet, engaged,…

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Cibola’s Senior Center Rori Hoffmeyer has been on scouts and college coaches’ radars over the last few years. Standing at 6-foot-1, Hoffmeyer is capable of being a double-double machine who runs the floor. As a senior, she is currently averaging 8.2 points, 2.1 assists, 12.3 rebounds, 1 steal and 1.8 blocks a game. Hoffmeyer, alongside teammates Sierra Bomhower and Isabela Molina, form the toughest three-headed monster in Western Arizona. Hoffmeyer has lettered on the varsity for (4) years, and has helped her teams rack up an impressive 54-12 record in power-point games. After weighing in on her options, she decided…

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The Eastern Arizona College Gila Monsters are stating their case in their quest for a NJCAA National Championship. EAC is currently riding an impressive (20)-game winning streak with (9) games left in the regular season. The Gila Monsters are under new leadership under Coach Angelica de Paulo, after former Head Coach Cameron Turner took the vacant EAC Men’s job in the off-season.  I was able to watch their matchup against Central Arizona College, and I was impressed as the Monsters had depth of guards, shooters, and sizable forwards on the inside. They have the versatility to have a traditional lineup…

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One of the state’s top floor generals commits to Chaminade University (Honolulu, HI). Morgan Escobedo is one of the state’s top point guards in the 2023 class. I was able to see her in action earlier in the season. She is currently averaging 10.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 3.4 steals per/game.  Chaminade got a winner in Escobedo, as she is the coach on the floor for the Pioneers. An athletic talent who defends at a high level, Escobedo utilizes her strength and athletic ability to lock up opposing guards and disrupt passing lanes. Offensively, she can get downhill…

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There has been a shake-up with the Men’s and Women’s Basketball Programs at Central Arizona College. A change in leadership for both programs led to changes and uncertainty. Coach Geoff Golden took the Head Women’s Position in the late Fall, however is bringing a blue-collar mentality to his program. He is not using the transition as an excuse, rather he is using it to make his players and community believe. The Vaqueras are 9-11 so far this season, and lost close games against nationally ranked Eastern Arizona and Pima College. They are only suiting up (7) players, however they leave…

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The Poston Butte Broncos are charging their way into a 4A East Sky Region Title and State Playoff Run. The Broncos have the best shot, as they have probably one of the best teams assembled in program history under the leadership of Head Coach Savannah Bix.  Bix is the 2nd Coach in program history, and it seems that she keeps improving her team’s record year after year. Last year, her Broncos won the 4A Black Canyon Region Title with a perfect 10-0 record in region play. Her Broncos were ousted in the first round of playoffs by eventual 4A State…

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During the 2020-2021 season, the Miami Vandals had a regular season record of 1-12. Former San Carlos High School Football Coach Shawn Pietila ended up relocating down the street to lead Miami’s Athletic Program as the Director of Athletics. It was not long that his wife, Crystal Hooke-Pietila (former San Carlos Head Girls Basketball Coach) ended up taking over the vacant Head Girls Basketball Coaching position at Miami.  In her first season (2021-2022) at the helm, Coach Pietila led her Vandals to an overall record of 19-5 record, where she won the 2A South Region Championship and Coach of the…

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Leading Edge Academy in Gilbert has been a small school powerhouse for girls’ basketball over the past decade. Coach Erik Gray has done a phenomenal job in keeping the winning culture going for his Spartans. After huge success, Coach Gray’s Spartans transitioned from the Canyon Athletic Association (CAA) to the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) during the 2016-2017 season. Immediately, the Spartans compiled an impressive resume with (1) State Championship, (1) State Runner-Up, (1) Elite 8, (1) First Round and (2) Final Four Finishes, since entering the AIA.  This year’s Spartans are talented, have the skill and ability to make a…

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This game matched up two of the upper tier programs in the state. Both teams have solid prospects and I project both to at least make it to the Elite-8 of the AIA Open Division State Tournament. The game started out aggressive, as both coaches looked to apply full court pressure off the jump.  It felt like a rollercoaster, as both teams exchanged head-to-head with multiple lead changes throughout the game. In the first half, O’Connor’s Audrey Bhesania hit some key shots, with big plays being made by Mak Snyder and Kaitlyn Elsholz – giving the Eagles solid momentum going…

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