High school basketball scoreboards have been on fire this season, as both state and national scoring records were broken out here in the desert.
Ashley Wirtzberger, a senior point guard at Gila Bend HS, broke the national 3-point record with 473 treys. Corey Hawkins, a senior guard at Estrella Foothills HS, erased NBA guard Mike Bibby’s 13-year-old record by scoring 3,004 points (and still counting) for his career. And Micah Behrens, a sophomore guard at Moon Valley HS, topped the scoring record at the school that was held by Richard Jefferson, scoring 47 points in a game against Prescott HS.
Behrens’ feat, just within the school itself, was somewhat overshadowed by the news of the state and national records. But one thing stands out about the Moon Valley record -buster: Behrens got a surprise phone call from the NBA star that had set the old mark back in 1997.
The Wickenburg Sun website reported that Jefferson, who played at the University of Arizona (as did Bibby) and is now in the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs, made the surprise call to congratulate Behrens. Jefferson reportedly told the Moon Valley sharpshooter to “stay focused, work hard, and success will come.” The Sun picked up the story because Behrens’ grandparents live there.
The slightly-built, 6-foot Behrens is still getting his shooting legs under him, with two more years of high school left to play. He’s a somewhat unlikely successor to the throne, averaging just 16 points a game; his next highest output this season was a 28 pt. performance against Dysart HS.
But the game against Prescott HS was one of those that a shooter waits for every time a new tip-off happens, a time when they just feel like they’re in a zone and can do little wrong. Behrens was 11-for-14 shooting from behind the three-point arc, missed just two shots of six from 2-point range, and went a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line.
The 6’3″ Hawkins, on the other hand, gives fans highlight reels almost every time out. He scored 46 points to help Estrella beat 5A-I defending champion St. Mary’s and his 56 points in another game was a school record and just one point short of the 3A record. He’s the son of former NBA player Hersey Hawkins, and oh yeah, he also leads the team in rebounds (10.5).
Next year he becomes a thorn in the side of UofA and the other Pac-10 teams, and gives the high school 3A programs a break, as he dons a maroon and gold uni for ASU.
The thing that stands out about Wirtzberger, who transferred in to Gila Bend HS for her senior year, is her play at point and her unselfish nature. She holds the state record for career assists with 832 and single-game assists at 21.
All of these accomplishments earned a mention in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd” section. She’s going to need all that acclaim for her resume for a college spot because, at 5’5″, it’s going to be easy for the big-school recruiters to overlook her.
Behrens’ Moon Valley squad finished up the year 9-14 and were done at the end of the regular season. However, Hawkins and Wirtzberger continue on as No. 1 Estrella Foothills plays No. 9 Holbrook HS in the 3A quarterfinals Friday night and No. 1 Gila Bend takes on No. 2 Fort Thomas HS in the 1A semifinals, also Friday night. Estrella is 28-1 and hasn’t lost to an Arizona team this year and Gila Bend is 30-2 and undefeated in conference.
By the way, Ashley Wirtzberger arrived on the doorstep of Gila Bend coach, Dallas Luttrell, with her younger sister in tow, as her father took over as the school’s principal and athletic director.
Alex, a sophomore, starts in the back court with Ashley.
How lucky can one school get?