High School basketball tips off on the big stage

    The underclassmen coaches were East Coach Scott Lovely (Arcadia) and his staff of Stephen Danford, Jesus Flores, and Alvin Vesey, and West Coach Ben Hurley and Marty Roth (Amphi) and Mike Serwa (Peoria).
    Before the game the BabyGirlz performed to several hundred fans while the players stood in the tunnel and watched. DJ Tyger from Power 98.3 FM spun records on his turntables and the last contest kicked off.  It was the high percentage shooting from the East squad that made the difference both early and late. Colin Woods led all with 18 (Horizon), Zeke Chapman lit it up from three with 16 (Chaparral), Jake Pitcher 16 (Skyline), Christian Bower had 14 (Mesquite), and Shawn King had 10 (Gilbert), Andy Jones 9 (Marcos), and Judd Welfringer with 8 (Basha).  Brendan Pineda (Tolleson) got the sportsmanship award for sprinting across the court to help his teammate up off the court after a nasty collision, a kid he had probably never played with before. 
    The West struggled from the longer pro arc most of the game but came out after halftime on fire behind Wooridge, Burnett, and a Sims trey, and closed to within 7 points late in the game. It would prove to be too little too late and the longer court combined with the longer game of 20 minute halves may have worn them down in the end. They were led by Michael Perez with 15 (Tucson Pueblo), Royce Woolridge with 11 (Sunnyslope), Brandon Burnett with 11 (Tucson Cienega), Jordan Sims 9 (Liberty), Jake Howe 8 (Bradshaw Mtn).
    The 1A-3A South team’s Brenin Angle and Big Jon Orr from Thatcher each had 18 to team up with Bo Barnes’ 30 points (Scottsdale Christian) and Jordan Kerpan had 14 (Valley Christian).  Legendary Thatcher Coach Kenny Smith coached won his last high school game after 27 years and 10 state championship games. Smith is moving on to Eastern Arizona CC.  The Gila Monsters won’t be hurting for new talent next year.  Cody York with 21 (Payson), Stacey Berg with 21 (Winslow), Trevor Little with 17 (Chino Valley) and Payton Flake with 11 (Snowflake) all had big games for the North smallball squad.
    Other Senior game coaches who went above and beyond for the games this year were Ricky Greer from Winslow, the big North 1A-3A Coach and the first competitor in the building, Joe Bustos (North), who had to rush back from his nephews graduation in Albuquerque to make the game, Mike Ellsworth (Chandler), who would never miss the chance to coach Wolves fireball Jason Edwards just one more time, and girls coach Larry Smith (Coolidge), who watched and studied the boys games to get ready for his girls smallball game next week.