In case you didn't know, there is some exciting basketball action taking place at Sunnyslope High School for this year's 2014 Hoopsgiving Basketball Tournament (what a great name for a tournament). At Sunnyslope High School, they certainly understand the game of basketball and know how to play it. With such teams as Brophy Prep, Thunderbird, Sunrise Mountain, Mountain Pointe, Greenway, Peoria, Moon Valley, Buckeye, Maryvale, Tolleson, Shadow Ridge, Liberty, Ironwood, Verrado, Sierra Linda, and, of course, Sunnyslope in action for this year's event, it makes for some exciting basketball and an opportunity for me to see some players I may have not seen perform yet during the holidays.
On Tuesday evening, I was able to catch host Sunnyslope HS take on my alma mater, Moon Valley HS in a nice second round match-up. While Sunnyslope would be without the services of their star player, 6-foot-3 senior guard Sammy Barnes-Thompkins (disciplinary reasons), and Moon Valley would be without 6-foot-6 junior forward Bryce Cheney (hip injury), it would make for a much different ball game, and allow for some other players to step up in their absence.
No player in the game would step up more than Sunnyslope superb 5-foot-10 frosh point guard prospect Bryson "Pee-Wee" MeWhinney (pictured). In the absence of Barnes-Thompkins, MeWhinney would take over the point guard duties full-time in only his second game of the season, and play exceptional basketball throughout the game to lead his team to a comfortable 54-39 victory in front of a nice home crowd.
With the Sunnyslope parking lot absolutely full for the tournament, MeWhinney would emerge as a star performer for the future on the night - handling the basketball comfortably under pressure all night, and converting numerous big shots down the stretch to keep his team ahead for the entire game.
Sunnyslope 6-foot-3 junior guard Dane Maggi also proved to be a very nice looking 2016 prospect on the evening, as he kept the Vikings ahead in the game in the first half - knocking down several perimeter jump shots, converting numerous drives in transition and playing strong defense in the half-court defensive set for head coach Ray Portela. Maggi is a transfer from Brophy Prep, and will give the Vikings a nice secondary option to Barnes-Thompkins all season long.
Moon Valley would get strong play from 6-foot-3 senior guard DJ Lujan on the night, but he would stay in foul trouble throughout the game - causing him to sit for long stints in the first and second half. With Lujan on the bench for much of the second half, 6-foot-2 sophomore guard Trevor Thompson would ignite his team early in the second half, but would fall short, as the Rockets would not have enough to keep pace with the Vikings.
Sunnyslope will now advance to take on an athletic Mountain Pointe HS team in the tournament semi-finals at 7:30PM on Wednesday evening, while Moon Valley will fall to the losers bracket.
Brophy Prep looks really strong in this year's event, and should have no problems reaching the tournament's final game @ 7PM on Friday evening.