It looks to be building up to be a very good season for the Canyon Athletic Association (CAA), as the state's top charter school programs are positioning themselves for a state title run. In the top division of the CAA, Division-III, there are two programs that consistently stand out annually in the division - Tri-City Christian Academy and Skyline Prep.
Skyline Prep (11-1) won last year's Division-III state championship - defeating Tri-City Christian in the state's final game. This season, Skyline Prep is back under the quality leadership of head coach Jace Romero and re-tooled for another state championship run. Led by the strong and superb play of 6-foot-2 senior combo-guard Amari Hudson, Skyline is off to an excellent start on the season. The team is undefeated in the state of Arizona, with their only loss of the season coming at the hands of the nation's top team - Findlay Prep (NV).
Hudson is having a great season. After spending a season at Basha HS last year and winning the 6A Division's State Championship with the program, Hudson returned to Skyline Prep this season for his final year of high school. Hudson has quickly become regarded among the top overall performers in the state in his senior season - showing off a superb ability to score and finish at a very high level.
Hudson would come out on fire in his team's match-up Tuesday evening against South Pointe High School. After a monster dunk in transition early by Hudson in the game, Skyline Prep would take a quick 20-9 lead.
Skyline Prep is absolutely loaded with athletic talent this season, which supports Hudson very nicely. 6-foot-1 senior guard Lemaica "Mako" Westbrook and 6-foot-4 senior wing Devonte McKinney are two of the state's top talents in the 2018 class. 5-foot-7 senior guard Cameron Campbell is another superb talent with a nice skill level, and 5-foot-10 senior guard Kobe Taylor is a lock-down defender and a good scorer of the basketball. Campbell and Taylor were both instrumental in the school's first state title win last season.
In the game's first period, a driving layup by Hudson late in the quarter, followed up by a 3-point play from Westbrook and a driving layup from McKinney, and Skyline would go up 27-9 after the first period.
In the second period, consecutive penetrating baskets by Hudson would put Skyline ahead by 23-points late in the quarter. Then an impressive up-and-under move in the key by Hudson through two defenders would bring the crowd to their feet. Then just a minute later, Hudson would throw down a strong one-handed dunk over a defender, while in transition - bringing the crowd to their feet again. With :26 seconds left to play in the first half, Hudson would finish another driving layup to give Skyline Prep a 55-24 lead at halftime - a 31-point advantage in two quarters.
With the game under wraps after the first half, Kobe Taylor would get into the scoring act early in the third period - connecting on consecutive three-pointers and pushing the lead to 62-26. From there on, both teams would empty their benches, as Skyline Prep would dust off a 73-47 home victory.
With the win, Amari Hudson would surpass the 2,000 point mark - ranking as the highest scorer ever in the school's history.
Notes: Defending D-III state champion Skyline Prep defeated Tri-City Christian earlier this season in an exciting contest on the road (75-62). Tri-City Christian is loaded with talent and makes for a very nice match-up with Skyline. The two teams will meet again on February 1st, in what is a clear preview to the CAA D-III state championship game.
Recruiting Notes: While he still has some work to do in the classroom, Amari Hudson is hearing from numerous college programs currently for the spring signing period. He advised me that he clearly likes Iowa Western JC (IA) currently, while there are numerous other top-rated junior college programs in hot pursuit of him as well. Hudson will be an immediate impact guard for whichever juco program he chooses.