The one good thing about the conclusion of Christmas day is the beginning of holiday basketball tournaments around the state. With each of the state's elite boy's basketball programs in competition, it is always a joy to sit in a gym for 12-straight hours and watch high school basketball, rather than working for corporate America - atleast for 2 or 3 days during the holidays.
One of the state's top holiday tournaments for the past 20 years has been the McClintock Holiday Shootout. While the tournament was once the elite basketball tournament in the state, the event has seen it's struggles over the past 5 years attracting top teams to the event. While the field of teams for the event has not been where it once was, this year's field looks to be much stronger than year's past. With such teams in the event this year as Saguaro, Marcos De Niza, Highland, Chandler, McClintock, Poston Butte and defending tournament champion Brophy Prep, this event looks to be headed for a strong tournament final.
Day one of the event is always fun to watch, as the higher-seeded programs in the event normally blow past their first round opponents. Historically, there are numerous blowout wins, and, occasionally, one or two upset wins that alter the predicted bracket. Win your first round game and move on to the next round, one step closer to the championship game; lose your first round game and find yourself out of the winner's bracket with three more games left to play.
Wednesday's first-round action in this year's event went pretty much as expected, as every team that was expected to win their games did - except for one. The game's only upset victory on the day saw Desert Ridge HS defeat Poston Butte on a buzzer-beater three-pointer by reserve 6-foot-1 junior guard Dean Spitzer. Desert Ridge (4-9) hung around the entire game while Poston Butte (10-3) looked to be comfortably ahead, behind the sharp-shooting of 6-foot-3 senior guard Jalen Richard (Santa Clara signee) and 6-foot senior guard Kyle Davis. Poston Butte looked to be ahead until you looked at the score and saw that Desert Ridge was in the game. Behind the strong play of 6-foot-1 junior guard Hunter Thomas and some nice shooting from 6-foot-6 junior forward Cameron Chatwin, Desert Ridge stayed in the game long enough for Spitzer to heave a three-pointer at the buzzer - winning the game 64-62 ...
Saguaro HS (11-3) continued their win streak, winning their 8th game in a row on the season in the first round of the event. Saguaro would ignite their offensive power - scoring 98 points in a huge blowout win over Campo Verde HS (5-5). Saguaro would empty their bench after only three quarters of action, in which they scored 93 points. The strong offensive fire-power of 6-foot-1 senior guard Ryan Berg, and the brotherly duo of 5-foot-11 senior guard Mike Hauser and 6-foot sophomore guard Matt Hauser will be tough to beat in this year's event ...
After winning last week's Horizon Invitational Tournament, Marcos De Niza HS (9-2) returns to action in this year's event - looking to win their second consecutive event. Two years ago, Marcos won the Horizon event and then lost in the first round of the McClintock tournament. This year's group is much different though and is the clear favorite to reach the tournament's final game. Led by the play of superb 6-foot-4 senior wing Richaud Gittens (Weber State signee) and 6-foot-3 senior Devin White, the Padres cruised past Fairfax HS (2-8) as expected - 70-55 in the first round. Thursday's second round match-up with Saguaro will be one game well worth watching ...
In the final game of the evening, defending tournament champion Brophy Prep looked like a finely tuned engine in their huge 91-57 blowout victory over Maryvale HS. Brophy Prep (12-1) has been one of the state's pleasant surprises this high school season - winners of their last 7 games on the season. Utilizing a well-balanced attack of role players, combined with the talents of the state's top senior post prospect, 6-foot-10 senior Tim Kempton (Lehigh University signee), the Broncos are as well-coached a team as there is in the state. This Brophy group plays hard on both ends of the floor, executes their offense to a tee and do not mind which player excels on the floor - a recipe for success for any team. Brophy looks to be headed to another championship berth in this year's event, and possibly a match-up with Marcos De Niza. How good would that be for a tournament final?
Final Scores From Day One of McClintock Holiday Shootout
Saguaro 98, Campo Verde 63
Marcos De Niza 70, Fairfax 55
Mountain Ridge 62, Apollo 51
Highland 77, Higley 38
Chandler 71, Carl Hayden 63
McClintock 88, Casa Grande 60
Desert Ridge 64, Poston Butte 62
Brophy Prep 91, Maryvale 57
Day Two McClintock Holiday Shootout Game Schedule
10 a.m. -- Campo Verde vs. Fairfax
11:30 a.m. -- Carl Hayden vs. Casa Grande
1 p.m. -- Poston Butte vs. Maryvale
2:30 p.m. -- Apollo lvs. Higley
4 p.m. - Mountain Ridge vs. Highland
5:30 p.m. -- Saguaro vs. Marcos de Niza
7 p.m. -- Desert Ridge vs. Brophy Prep
8:30 p.m. -- Chandler vs. McClintock