It seems only fair that Xavier Prep let some other school win a state title. The small Catholic girls’ school in central Phoenix has won three state championships so far this school year, in volleyball, soccer, and swimming.
And last night they tried to add a basketball championship to make if four.
But the second-seeded Valley Vista High School girls’ team had something to say about that, building a 32-26 halftime lead that they held the rest of the way to a 68-55 win for the 6A girls’ title..
For Valley Vista, this was the Surprise school’s second straight basketball championship. But over on the boys’ side, Pinnacle High School was nailing down that school’s first-ever boys’ basketball state title.
Pinnacle (23-7), the No. 2 seed, used a barrage of 24 points from behind the arc to dominate the first half to build a 16-point lead that No. 5 Mountain Pointe High School (26-4) was unable to erase, and the Pioneers coasted through the second half to a 76-60 victory.
But this year’s winners in both championship games had the teams they beat to thank for getting rid of major obstacles to their success in the finals. Neither side of the brackets had a No. 1 seed playing in the finals. Xavier knocked out top-seeded Millennium High School on the girls’ side, and Pinnacle stunned No. 1 Brophy Prep, with both upsets coming in the semifinals.
Pinnacle had four players who scored in double figures in the finals, led by sophomore point guard Nico Mannion who had a monster game of 21 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. The rest of the back court rounded out the majority of the scoring, with junior Spencer Rattler dropping in 18 points, 6’6″ junior Jordan Mains contributing 13 points and 11 rebounds, and junior Trent Brown adding 10 points and five assists.
Mountain Pointe answered with its own back-court scoring as junior point guard Khalid Price led the way with 18 points and senior guard Amarion Cash added 13 more.
The girls’ title game was also a match-up between the No. 2 seed and No. 5 seed, with identical results. And like the boys’ game, No. 2 Valley Vista (25-6) took a first-half lead and then built on that to post a 13-point victory over a team that had lost just once in its last 12 games and had the momentum.
Xavier (27-6) has relied heavily on its defense this year, but Valley Vista’s two-time All-Arizona floor general, Taylor Chavez, didn’t let a little thing like that stop her from piling up the points, just as she has so many other times this season. The senior point guard put 22 points on the scoreboard and added eight rebounds to lead the Monsoon scorers. Senior guard Terrysha Banner added a 17-point effort and 6’1″ freshman forward Marisa Davis had a break-out game with a double-double: 14 points and 18 rebounds.
Leilani McIntosh, the Gators’ senior point guard, paced Xavier with 20 points, and senior forward Montana Oltrogge, the team’s leading scorer who put up 22 points in the semifinal win, finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds last night.
Next year, the Monsoon won’t have to deal with expectations for a three-peat. They lose four starters to graduation.