It was a match-up that had many basketball enthusiasts had been excited about for some time, as it would be a rematch game between AZ Compass Prep and Bella Vista Prep. Last season, the two programs had faced off in epic fashion on the AZ Compass campus. After an amazing first half-performance by Bella Vista's Terry Armstrong (University of Arizona signee), AZ Compass Prep would come from behind in the game's second half to win it, led by the play of now University of Utah freshman guard Both Gach. The performances by Gach and Armstrong were terrific last season and kept Arizona basketball enthusiasts wanting more.
This season's rematch was a game that we had believed we would not get to see, until recently the game was scheduled by The Grind Session organizers. On Friday evening, the two programs would face off with another once again, but this time led by the play of many new prospects on the floor at Glendale Junior College.
AZ Compass would come into the game without the services of 7-foot-2 senior post Chol Marial, who would sit out the game due to sickness - a tremendous loss to the Compass Prep program for the game. Also, senior guard Ismael Cruz would no longer be with the Compass Prep program, after being released from the school over the weekend, according to school officials.
The two programs would both turn in a competitive contest in the game's first half, and Bella Vista would lead by one point at the half, 33-32.
Compass Prep would get a strong effort from 6-foot-9 freshman forward Sadraque Nganga, and also receive strong play from 6-foot-5 senior guard Carlos Ramsey in the game's first half.
Bella Vista would receive a strong performance in the game by 5-foot-11 sophomore guard Zion Harmon (pictured), a native of Maryland and one of the more talented 2021 guards in the country. Harmon joined the team this year after the start to the season, and he has made his impact felt immediately upon joining the program. Harmon would connect with 7-foot-1 senior post Rick Issanza on several plays for strong finishes at the rim, and also would share the basketball with each of his teammates, including superstar 6-foot-7 senior wing prospect Terry Armstrong (University of Arizona signee).
In the game's second half, Bella Vista would wear down AZ Compass behind the play of Harmon and Terry Armstrong. Harmon would convert numerous plays at the basket off strong drives, and also knock down numerous three-pointers from long range. One three-pointer late in the contest from Harmon would be from better than 30 feet out.
Terry Armstrong would turn in his best performance that I have seen in some time. Armstrong would play inspired basketball and hustle hard on both ends of the floor - playing with an excellent overall motor that I had not seen in some time from him. Armstrong threw down several NBA-caliber dunks on the break in transition, and also finished one-monster alley-oop dunk off a pass from Harmon. With University of Arizona Head Coach Sean Miller in attendance for the game, Armstrong was dominant in the game and proved why he should make an immediate impact next fall for the Wildcats.
Bella Vista would go on to win the game in fine fashion, 56-39.
Bella Vista had been on the road consistently since late December, and so there performance in this weekend's Grind Session is the first time we have been able to see them in action for some time. Bella Vista will face Hillcrest Prep North on day two of the Grind Session on Saturday.
In a game earlier, superstar senior guard LaMelo Ball led his Spire Academy (OH) team to a huge 114-71 victory over a talented Hillcrest Prep North team. Ball was superb - scoring a game high 41 points in his team's victory. Spire Academy is absolutely loaded with division-I talent and is the best team that I have seen all season. They will face AZ Compass on Saturday afternoon at Glendale Junior College.