The four-time defending Division-I state champions, Corona Del Sol High School, have had fun tearing apart the state of Arizona the past four seasons, and it seemed as though they would continue this trend for atleast another three seasons - until the transfer before the season of superstar 6-foot-11 sophomore post Marvin Bagley Jr. After the departure of Bagley (transfer), the Aztecs became a much more common-looking team. While the Aztecs are still loaded with some of the state's elite talent, they will be faced this season with an out-of-state schedule that was designed for the inclusion of Bagley.
Little did the Aztecs know, that this season, without the presence of Bagley in the middle, they will face each opponent's best effort each night, as each Arizona team looks to dethrone the defending state champs. Earlier this week, Corona (1-1) would lose their first game to an Arizona opponent in years, as they would fall on the road in their first game of the season at the hands of a talented Mesa HS (6-0) squad, 65-62.
On Friday night, Corona would look to bounce back against a very talented but young Desert Ridge (4-2) team. Desert Ridge is led by the play of superb 6-foot-5 sophomore forward Timmy Allen, while the Aztecs are led by the terrific play of their dynamic junior backcourt of Alex Barcello and Saben Lee. Both Barcello and Lee have close to 20 division-I scholarship offers each, while Allen is beginning to receive his share of high major division-I college recruitment as well.
It was a very close game in the first half, as both teams looked to gain an edge on one another. After a three-point play from "Mr. Hustle," 6-foot-3 senior guard Tyrell Henderson (Portland State signee), and another mid-range jump-shot from Henderson, Corona would take a 3-point lead, 28-25.
After a 7-point first quarter for himself, Timmy Allen would look reluctant to get involved in the offense for Desert Ridge - standing on the wing for much of the second period. After a nice alley-oop dunk by Saben Lee on the break, his second of the game, Corona would cruise to a 34-27 halftime lead.
Saben Lee would then have a strong third quarter for himself, as he scored off the dribble in fine fashion, and also knocked down his perimeter jump shot - helping Corona to a 51-42 lead after three quarters.
In the fourth period, Corona would hold on to their lead - increasing their margin to 13 points in the period, after a steal and an around-the-back pass to 6-foot-4 senior forward Jeff McCain for a two-handed dunk. Corona would eventually win the game 75-61 - their first win of the season.
Next week, Corona will host Brophy Prep on Tuesday (12/8) and Pinnacle on Thursday (12/10), before traveling to top-rated Bishop Gorman HS (NV) in Vegas next Saturday (12/12).