It was an exciting match-up between two of the state's top teams this season from the Division-I Class, as part of the Section-I tournament playoffs. Sunnyslope High School (26-4) has had a terrific season thus far, while Pinnacle (20-8) has not had the season that they envisioned before the season, but are looking to put it all together at the right time.
Saturday's match-up between these two teams also featured two former college teammates, as the state's most impressive post talent, Sunnyslope's 6-foot-10 senior post Michael Humphrey (Stanford signee), and Pinnacle's 6-foot-5 senior guard/forward Dorian Pickens (Stanford signee) would face off for the first time with one another. While both high school prospects will compete with one another in college, neither prospect have ever spent much time together on the basketball court.
The game would be held at Sandra Day O'Connor High School as part of the semi-finals for this year's D-I, Sectional Playoffs.
After a lackluster fist half with Sunnyslope taking a 29-24 first half lead, the third period would be much of the same as high-scoring 6-foot-3 junior guard Sammy Tompkins would play very aggressive on the offensive end for the Vikings. Sunnyslope would comfortably hold on to the lead for much of the period, until 6-foot-2 junior guard Trevor Baker would knock down a three-pointer with 1:30 left to play in the period - narrowing the lead to a 3-point advantage for Sunnyslope, 37-34.
Sunnyslope would hold on to a 39-34 lead after the third period.
Pinnacle would keep pace with Sunnyslope in the fourth period, before Michael Humphrey would break free inside the paint for a monster, two-handed dunk. Then a nice tap in after his own missed shot by Thompkins would give Sunnyslope their biggest lead, 51-43 with 4:30 left to play in the game.
But Pinnacle would climb back into the game after increasing their defensive pressure and level of intensity, led by the leadership of Dorian Pickens. After a basket by Pickens and then a steal by Pickens and then a three-point play in transition after being fouled on a layup, and Pinnacle would draw close to within 2-points of the Vikings, 51-49.
The key plays by Pickens would give Pinnacle the late momentum in the game. After Pinnacle would tie the game on free-throws, Sunnsylope would take the lead back on a driving basket by Sammy Thompkins after being fouled. Thompkins would miss the free-throw.
Pickens would then tie the game again at 53 all after a mid-range jump-shot, before a nice three-pointer from the wing by Trevor Baker would give Sunnyslope a 56-53 lead with 2 minutes left to play in the game. With Sunnyslope in desperation late, Baker would get a steal and convert a transition layup to give his team a 58-55 lead with 1:17 left to play. Pinnacle would then cruise to a 64-61 victory.
The loss for Sunnyslope would be their first loss in the state of Arizona this high school season - an amazing season thus far for the Vikings.
Pinnacle will now move on to face Dobson High School in the championship game of the sectional playoffs Saturday evening.
"It was frustrating to lose," said Sunnyslope's Sammy Thompkins after the game. "Maybe a loss before the state playoffs will be good for us."