This week's match-up between Brophy Prep and Sunnyslope looked like a similar game to the previous match-up this season between the two teams, but instead was very different altogether. The two teams had met with one another, earlier in the season, in the championship game of the Hoopsgiving pre-season tournament at Sunnyslope. Brophy Prep (8-2) would win a nail-biter in overtime - a game in which Sunnyslope 6-foot-3 senior guard Sammy Barnes-Thompkins would pour in 31 points in the loss.
On Monday evening, the two teams faced off again. The setting at Sunnyslope HS was very much the same, the crowd was electric again, two teams looked very similar, but Sunnyslope (5-5) would be without the services of Barnes-Thompkins in this match-up. Due to undisclosed disciplinary reasons, Barnes-Thompkins has been suspended indefinitely, but is hopeful to return to the team in the future. As a result, the absence of Barnes-Thompkins would be a lot for the young Vikings to overcome in this second match-up with the Broncos.
In the first meeting between these two rivals, Brophy Prep 6-foot-3 junior point guard Brock Brunkhorst would convert a mid-range bank-shot from the wing just before the buzzer to give his Broncos the overtime, tournament championship victory. In that game, Brunkhorst would sit for much of the game due to foul trouble. In this affair, Brunkhorst would play much more of a vital role for his team - as he stayed on the floor and ran his team efficiently from the point position.
Brophy Prep would cruise through the game, comfortably holding on to the lead throughout the game. Brophy would walk away with a nice 59-42 road win on Monday evening.
Brunkhorst advanced the basketball up the floor to the open man consistently throughout the game - pushing the ball and the Broncos fast-break with precision. He made passes in the game that were uncanny and saw the entire floor, making his teammates around him better and putting them in great scoring position. I have not seen many players advance the basketball up the floor to the open teammate as well as Brunkhorst has, and did on Monday evening. Brunkhorst's willingness to make the pass to the open teammate and also share the basketball without looking for his own scoring numbers is a rarity among today's student-athletes.
Brunkhorst's efficient leadership from the point position and his ability to make the open three-pointer, combined with the inside play of 6-foot-9, 230-pound senior post Mike Kempton and 6-foot-6, 240-pound senior post Fred Erlandson, and the sharp perimeter shooting of 6-foot-1 senior guard Matt Stark, have made the Broncos a very competitive group this high school season.
Sunnyslope, in Barnes-Thompkins' absence, would be and will continue to be led by the play of 6-foot-3 senior guard Dane Maggi, and a talented group of young prospects led by the play of freshman point guard Bryson Mewhinney and freshman forward Chris Orozco.