Two high-profile careers end with 3A basketball finals

A couple of prominent names in high school basketball closed out careers this weekend.  One left the court to move on to bigger challenges, the other wrapped up 41 years on the bench.

The 3A state championships set the stage for the last game of Corey Hawkins’ prolific high school career.  The senior, who set state records for career and season scoring this year, helped his Estrella Foothills team  to a 77-57 win over Round Valley HS for the 3A boys title.

Hawkins, who averaged 37 points this season, got into foul trouble early in the game and managed just 12 points in his career finale.  But his little brother, Devon, stepped into the void. The hot-handed freshman joined senior guard Troy Coleman, as together they contributed 48 points – which they divided equally.

The final score indicated a rout, but unranked Round Valley (Eager, Ariz.) was just two points behind at the half.  A couple of three-points baskets to start the second half started a run that Round Valley was unable to stop.

It was a career closure of a different sort on the 3A girls’ side of the game.  Winslow HS coach, Don Petranovich, closed out his long coaching career by steering the Bulldogs to another state title, beating Window Rock HS (Ft. Defiance, Ariz.), 51-40.  Petranovich has won seven 3A titles and eight overall.

But to do it again, his girls had to get past No. 1 ranked Safford HS in the semi-finals.  They managed to overcome a game riddled with turnovers to slip past Safford, 44-41, and set up the final with No. 2 Window Rock.  It was only the second loss all season for Safford.

This title also got the monkey off the Bulldogs’ backs.  The Winslow girls have been to the title game the past four years, losing the championship last year by just one point!  Window Rock is beginning the climb back to the prominence it enjoyed in the mid-90s when it won five straight titles.

Corey Hawkins is taking his game to ASU next year, where he will give Coach Herb Sendek that scoring weapon he’s been looking for.  Maybe after that he’s thinking about following in the footsteps of his father, NBA great, Hersey Hawkins.

We’re not sure what’s ahead for Coach Petranovich – other than some much-deserved down time.