The high school basketball season is just getting underway, but already the rankings in Division I appear to be somewhat suspect after looking at last night’s results.
Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix, which just moved into the top 10, narrowly escaped with a three-point win against Tempe’s Marcos de Niza High School – which has won just one game so far.
Meanwhile, No. 8 Red Mountain High School (Mesa) had an even closer call, beating unranked North High in Phoenix, 55-54, when a final shot at the buzzer could have won it for the Mustangs. The Lions improved their record to 7-1.
This game was as tight all the way through as it appeared in the final score as Justin Park led the winning squad with 14 points, and teammate Juan Zuniga chipped in 13 more.
Moving up the ladder, No. 5 Mountain View High School in Mesa escaped with a 59-54 win over Desert Mountain High School in Scottsdale, moving them up to 3-1, while Desert Mountain levels out at 2-2.
But the biggest shake-up is happening even closer to the top, as Tempe’s Corona del Sol High School, the No. 4-ranked team in Division I, upset No. 2 Desert Vista. It was the first loss for the Phoenix school, which now sits at 3-1.
A full house showed up for this game, and it lived up to its billing.
The lead see-sawed all night long and, for the most part, it was a game of runs. Corona went on a 15-2 run in the second quarter, but the Thunder came back and tied the score at the half.
Again in the fourth quarter, the Aztecs went on a 15-5 run. But the Thunder answered again and took a three-point lead at 45-42. That turned out to be their last hurrah, however, as Corona regained the lead and held it the rest of the way.
Even the top scorers for the evening were neck-and-neck, as Danny Powell dropped in 27 points for Desert Vista and Calaen Robinson matched the effort with 27 for Corona.
Corona kept the Thunder at arm’s length going down the stretch, nailing 16 of 18 free throws and six of the last six attempts.
Pinnacle High School had an easy night, rolling over Goldwater High School in Phoenix, 70-22. The Pioneers, from the north end of the Valley, took a nasty spill from the previous rankings, falling from No. 3 to No. 7 after a loss to Desert Vista.
But Pinnacle is likely to be still another disruptive element in the pecking order going forward, as the Pioneers work their way back to the top. The loss to the Thunder is their only misstep so far. They rolled through the Paradise Invitational over the Thanksgiving holidays, going 5-0 while averaging 76 points a game.
It’s still early and it’s almost a certainty that the top 10 is going to shake out a lot more before mid-season arrives.
So, stay tuned.