The exciting Hoophall West event got underway on Friday at Chaparral High School with several games on the day. Arizona Preps was on hand for the final game on the evening to watch Corona Del Sol High School take on national basketball power - St. Anthony's High School (NJ). St. Anthony's was without the services of several of their post players, while Corona, of course, lost superstar 6-foot-11 sophomore post Marvin Bagley Jr. before the season to a transfer. This match-up was decided by the tournament staff during the off-season when it was thought that Corona would have Bagley, so the Aztecs would have their work cut out to keep pace with one of the nation's premier programs.
The game would be a match-up of guard play, as Corona's star junior backcourt duo of 6-foot-2 junior guard Alex Barcello and 6-foot-2 junior guard Saben Lee would look to carry their group amidst the intense defensive pressure of St. Anthony's.
St. Anthony's is led by Hall of Fame head coach Bob Hurley Sr. - one of the elite high school coaches of all-time, while Corona was led by first-year head coach Neil McDonald. McDonald took over this high school season for former legendary Corona head coach Sam Duane Jr., who resigned after last season.
In the first period, Barcello would keep his team in the game - scoring 10 first quarter points and hitting a shot at the buzzer to tie the game at 14 all at the end of the period.
In the second period, Hurley and his staff would do what they do best - make adjustments to defend Barcello. St. Anthony's would turn up their defensive pressure and apply a full-court press, which would give Corona serious trouble. St. Anthony's would force numerous turnovers and outscore Corona 22 to 9 in the quarter - taking a big 36-23 lead in to the half. Barcello would score just 2 points in the period.
In the second half, St. Anthony's would make another adjustment and implement a box-and-one defense against Barcello. Barcello would also make the adjustment for himself and his team, and would score 11 points in the period on some terrific shooting of the basketball. Corona would pull to within 8 points - 47-39 at the end of the third quarter, after a three-pointer at the buzzer from senior guard Tyrell Henderson (Portland State signee).
In the fourth period, the only true highlight for Corona would be a nice one-handed dunk in transition by Saben Lee, as St. Anthony's would cruise to a 68-58 win.
Alex Barcello would finish with a game-high 31 points in the loss, while Saben Lee would contribute 10 points. St. Anthony's is consistently one of the nation's top defensive teams, so Barcello's performance was terrific - forcing college coaches in attendance to take serious notice.
Arizona Preps will be on hand for all of the day's action on Saturday, and will look forward to bringing you a complete recap of the day's top performers.