On Saturday at this year's McClintock Holiday Shootout, it was an exciting day of basketball action as numerous teams competed for the right to advance in the tournament. Winners of the evening games would move on to the tournament semi-finals, while other teams would look to win their games after first round losses. While many of the state's best teams are playing in the Visit Mesa Basketball Challenge, it is always exciting to watch the annual McClintock event, as a result of bracket play and the right to crown a tournament champion.
On Saturday in the winner bracket of games, Perry High School (10-1) would continue their terrific play on the season with a 71-66 win over an aspiring Marcos De Niza (5-6) team that is playing excellent basketball as of late. Again, star 5-foot-11 sophomore guard Markus Howard (Arizona State commit) would ignite for a game-high 40 points - scoring 40 of his team's total 71 points in the victory. Perry would outscore Marcos De Niza 17-10 in the third period, which would allow them to hold off the Padres late in the game.
Perry will now advance to take on Arcadia High School (8-4), after Arcadia won their fifth game in a row on the season with a big 73-67 win over a developing Boulder Creek (6-8) team. Arcadia would overcome the terrific team shooting of Boulder Creek late in the game, behind an impressive 40-point performance from 6-foot-4 senior guard/forward Connor Nichols. Nichols would score 22 points in the game's first half, and then continue his strong play in the game's second half.
With the score tied with less than a minute to play, Nichols would knock down a three-pointer from the wing to give his team the victory. Nichols has played terrific this season, and is well deserving of scholarship offers. He has excellent footwork and an advanced skill level on the offensive end, which allows him to score inside and out. 6-foot-4 senior forward Avonte Nelms also contributed 15 points in the win.
Boulder Creek shot the basketball very well as a team in the loss and looks to be playing their best basketball of the season. 6-foot-4 junior guard Nick Johnson is among the best shooters of the basketball in the state. Johnson finished with a team-high 21 points in the loss, while 6-foot-1 junior guard Zach Landrum also finished with 19 points.
In another quarterfinal match-up, Basha HS (10-3) would cruise past Campo Verde (6-5) with a 57-36 win. Basha would finally seem to put it all together in the win, as they had a nice balanced attack - finally utilizing their large inside post presence to win the game. The tall combination of 6-foot-10 junior post Devin Kirby and 6-foot-9 junior post Klay Stall would prove to be too much on the glass for Campo Verde. Stall would finish with a game-high 15 points, while Kirby would contribute 13 points in the win. 6-foot senior guard David Perez also contributed 14 points. Basha's success as a team will be determined by their guard play and they will need it in their semi-final match-up with Westview HS.
Westview (7-5) has won 5 of their last 6 games on the season, and is playing very well heading into the second half of the season. While not having much size, Westview would beat host McClintock HS at their own game on Saturday evening, with guard play. Despite a nice game-high of 25 points from 5-foot-11 junior point guard Amiri Chukwuemeka, Westview would overcome the Chargers fast-breaking style of play to win the game, 58-47. Westview would get a nice team-high, 20 points from 6-foot-1 junior guard Kendall Barnes in the victory.
In other games on the day, Brophy would defeat Desert Ridge 72-65 after losing in the first round; Dobson would defeat Moon Valley 59-57; Mesa would blow out Saguaro 66-40 and Mountain Ridge would advance with a win over NFL Yet Academy.