The AZ Compass Prep basketball program has consistently gone to new levels annually, since the school's development of a national program. After having strong success also annually in the GEICO National Tournament, the program reached new heights again this season, as they fought hard and made Arizona proud - finishing runner-up for the GEICO National Championship on ESPN this past weekend.
The GEICO National Tournament takes place annually for the top high school programs in the country, and AZ Compass Prep consistently has finished very well among the nation's top programs.
The GEICO High School Basketball Nationals returned to Suncoast Credit Union Arena in Ft. Myers, Florida this year, and was held March 30 - April 1st, with all (10) matchups featured on ESPN platforms. The 14th annual event featured the best high school basketball teams in the country, competing in post-season play, and included ten teams in the boys’ and girls’ fields ranked in the SCNext Top 25.
The three-day tournament began Thursday, and this was AZ Compass Prep's third appearance in the event, and after two strong performances in consecutive years, this year's run by AZ Compass was almost epic, as the program first defeated Long Island Lutheran High School (NY), 73-71, in a very nice win - overcoming a previous loss to LuHi earlier in the season. AZ Compass would then advance to the tournament's semi-final game, where they would get an inspired team effort - blowing out a loaded IMG Academy (FL), 68-50. In the win, AZ Compass would overcome a late deficit and explode to take control of the game down the stretch, behind an inspired effort from 6-foot-9 senior Trent Pierce (University of Missouri signee). The big victory would allow AZ Compass to advance to the Tournament Final.
In the championship game, AZ Compass would face a very talented Link Academy (MO) program. In their second year of operation, Link Academy came into the contest with an impressive 24-1 record on the season. Link Academy would get an inspired effort from their team in the final - defeating AZ Compass Prep 73-55 to win the GEICO National Championship in its second year as a prep school. Baylor signee and McDonald's All-American Ja'Kobe Walter had 21 points and UNC pledge Elliot Cadeau set a tournament record with 29 assists across three games.
AZ Compass Prep featured two Arizona products on their roster this season, 6-foot-3 senior guard Tru Washington (University of New Mexico commit) and 6-foot-2 senior guard Vincent Delano (University of Portland signee), while the remainder of the team originated from other states from around the country. During AZ Compass' championship run, Washington would come up big for the team in their pursuit, while Delano would provide excellent defensive ball pressure on opposing guards, and hit a big three-pointer in the team's semi-final match-up to help his team blow the lead open against IMG Academy. Both Arizona prospects made Arizona proud and now should have excellent college careers.
Prep school basketball in Arizona continues to push the limits for the basketball culture in Arizona, and AZ Compass Prep's performance again this season continues to take their program and the national respect for Arizona basketball to another level as well. While the AZ Compass Prep program should be very proud of their efforts this prep season, we, as a basketball culture in Arizona, should be just as proud of their accomplishments.