Anthem, Arizona - With the Arizona (AIA) high school basketball season still in preparation for the 2012-2013 season, Westwind Prep's National High School team is already underway on their big inaugural season - a season which will include close to 60 games.
After two recent comfortable wins over another newly developed local prep program, Planet Athlete, Westwind Prep continued its momentum on Saturday afternoon - facing the nation's #7 ranked high school program, Cathedral Prep (CA). Cathedral had been racing past its recent competition in LA, and sporting a loaded roster filled with extreme size, length and a high skill-set. Both teams matched up very nicely - making for a very exciting game on the day.
The two teams competed hard in the first half, with both teams looking to gain an advantage early. But both teams would match one another for the first 10 minutes of the game. Westwind would hold a narrow 18-17 lead after 10 minutes of action.
Westwind would then get some breathing room with 7:18 left to play in the first, as 6-foot-3 senior guard Kye De Laveaga would convert a three-pointer to give Westwind it's biggest lead of the game - 32-19, with 6:20 left to play in the half.
Westwind Prep's gifted duo of 6-foot-8 junior forward Zylan Cheatham and 6-foot-9 junior post Connor MacDougall (Arizona State commit) would both compete hard on both ends of the floor - grabbing rebounds and locking up defensively, while 6-foot-1 senior point guard John Marshall (Southern Utah commit) would apply serious defensive pressure on the guards . After two free throws from Cheatham just before the half, Westwind would cruise to a 41-33 halftime lead.
In the second half, MacDougall would put his stamp on the game. MacDougall would convert consecutive baskets inside over defenders, while playing tough on the defensive glass. Westwind would hold on to an 8-point advantage, 45-37 with 15:30 left to play.
But Cathedral HS would climb back and close the gap to 3 points, 50-47, before MacDougall would convert two more consecutive baskets inside. Then Kye De Laveaga would catch fire, connecting on two-straight contested three-point attempts from deep. De Laveaga's shooting exploits would push Westwind's lead to double-digits, 62-51 with 11:15 left to play in regulation.
Then, the play of the game would take effect as Zylan Cheatham would ignite the small Anthem crowd in attendance with a tip-dunk over a defender in transition, and with his left hand. The dunk would be the put the nail in the coffin for the Westwind team and bring home the big home victory. After another three-pointer from De Laveaga and another strong post move from MacDougall, Westwind would extend their lead to 75-60.
Westwind would then finish off Cathedral HS, 85-68, for their biggest win of the early season.
"The only stat the is important to me is the W,"said an excited Connor MacDougall after the win.
Westwind received a huge team effort in the win, but was also led by 6-foot-2 junior guard Tate De Laveaga in scoring with 19 points and John Marshall with 18 points. Talented 6-foot-2 senior guard Glenn Baral also finished with 14 points in the win. Baral's early three-point shooting helped Westwind get off to an early start in the game. John Marshall's ability to defend the basketball and put pressure on the defense with his ability to get in the lane was also a huge benefit to the Westwind team.
Westwind will now travel to the state of Nevada next week, where they will face the nation's top high school program - Findlay Prep next Friday (11/16).
Notes: Westwind Prep's Post-Graduate Team also continued their strong play this season on Saturday afternoon. After a big overtime win this week on the road over Phoenix College, the team defeated another junior college program on Saturday - defeating Chandler-Gilbert JC, 109-73.