You could see it coming. Westwind Prep was heading for a fall.
And fall they did, losing the first game of this season to another Arizona high school boys’ basketball team.
The tiny charter school in Phoenix has blown opponents off the court this season and was just two games away from wrapping up the regular schedule when Desert Edge High School invited them to their Goodyear gym and stunned the high-flying Warriors.
Desert Edge 78, Westwind Prep 75.
Westwind had routinely beaten teams all season long by huge margins, scoring 100 or more points on eight occasions. The No. 1-ranked 2A school had even taken on a couple of the top teams in 5A, beating them both.
The only blemish on their 24-1 mark coming into the Desert Edge game was a 16-point loss to Orange Lutheran High School from California when the two teams met in the VisitMesa.com Challenge at the end of December.
After being stunned by that loss, the Warriors picked themselves up and returned to their winning ways. But then Valley Christian punched them in the nose in a Jan. 20 game, using four three-point shots by Emmanuel Guarino to help them come from behind in the third quarter and pull within one point and stay competitive until the middle of the final quarter when the Warriors went on a 12-0 run to close out the 70-53 win.
But, until well into the fourth quarter of that game, there must have been serious doubts creeping into the Warrior aura of confidence.
They got on track again, beating a couple of lesser-talented teams. They ran up 104 points against North Pointe Prep and then beat Chino Valley by 36.
But a Jan. 28 game against Scottsdale Christian Academy brought them back down to earth, as SCA took them to the wire. The Warriors needed a blocked shot with just seconds left in regulation to keep the game from going into overtime and save a 52-49 win.
Then Westwind had to go on the road to Goodyear Monday night and take on 18-6 Desert Edge, who had lost just one game all season on their home court.
At first, it looked like business as usual for the big bully on the block, as the Warriors jumped out to a 13-2 lead. But Desert Edge rallied and, by the third quarter, had a 51-38 lead before Westwind’s 6’6″ junior guard, Demarquise Johnson, canned 11 of his total 23 points in the fourth quarter and made it a game again.
Desert Edge forward Anthony Jacobs and Kyle Woolard, the sophomore guard, each got a lay-up for the final four points that proved to be the game winners.
Westwind shouldn’t have any trouble the rest of the way, with games against Horizon Honors (11-9) and Arizona Lutheran Academy (10-13) to close out the regular schedule.
It’s unfortunate for both of those teams that they get Westwind following a couple of close games and a major loss.
They’re in the path of an angry team that can pile on the points and have shown no remorse for running up the score on lesser teams.