The finals are set for the Division-I Class, after the Mesa Jackrabbits and the Sunnyslope Vikings were able to advance on Friday evening at Grand Canyon University. Both teams won their D-I semi-final match-ups and received a birth into the D-I finals on Monday evening at Gila River Arena @ 8PM.
Mesa (24-4) advanced to this year's final game after a big 50-35 win over a very talented Basha HS team. This match-up seemed to be the best game on paper of the high school season. Well, until the game began and Mesa imposed their will on Basha. Mesa played excellent defense in the contest - taking a 21-10 halftime lead, and holding Basha (22-6) to 4 for 14 shooting from the field.
Basha would make a run in the third period behind the play of senior guard Antwan Ross-Jones and junior guard Terrell Brown.
But Mesa would close it out in the fourth period with a 15-5 run. Sharp-shooting senior guard Drew Hatch and his younger brother, 6-foot sophomore guard Mark Hatch both finished with 13 points in the win.
Sunnyslope (25-4) continued their terrific season, making it to the Division-I finals after reaching a significant accomplishment - defeating Gilbert two times in the same season. After first surprising Gilbert HS on the road midway through the high school season, Sunnyslope was able to defeat Gilbert again, but this time ending the Tigers' season with a 46-43 victory.
The last time these two teams faced off, superb 6-foot-3 sophomore guard Kyle Fischer was sitting on the bench - watching as his team had success without him. Fischer had just been admitted to the team after missing many games to start the high school season. Fischer sat and observed the action in early December, thinking of how he could impact the game when he would be inserted into the Viking's lineup. On Friday evening, not too far away from his home in Central Phoenix, Fischer would have his breakout game of the high school season. After coming up big in Sunnyslope's quarterfinal win over defending state champion, Corona Del Sol, Fischer would come up big again. This time with 12 big points off the Sunnyslope bench - including two big freee-throws late in the game to give Sunnyslope a 42-38 lead, and eventually the win.
Sunnyslope was led in scoring again by sharp-shooting 6-foot-3 senior guard Dane Maggi (pictured, right) who finished with a game-high 15 points in the win.
Gilbert's 6-foot-7 senior forward Chris Bowling would finish with 14 points and 7 rebounds in the loss, and 6-foot-5 senior forward Jacob Nicholds would have 12 points and 8 rebounds.
Mesa and Sunnyslope will be a very interesting match-up on Monday, as both teams are very well coached and tough . Both teams will try to impose their will on each other, and whichever team can control the glass will win.