The biggest difference between the boys’ and girls’ 6A championship games was easy to spot. He stands 6’10” tall and was all over the court in the boys’ contest.
Valley Vista High School was led in the girls’ game by Jenna Isai and Marisa Davis. Each scored 18 points to power the Surprise school to a 42-38 victory over Hamilton High in the title game.
But in the boys’ title game, Desert Vista High School senior center Osasere Ighodaro scored almost as many points as the two girls combined, dropping in 32 points in a runaway rout of Mountain Pointe HS. Ighodaro added 11 rebounds and six blocked shots to his evening’s work as Desert Vista built an early first-half lead and then cruised to a 75-55 decision over its Ahwatukee rival.
The two Ahwatukee-area schools have met before in a basketball semifinal, but this was a much-anticipated finals match-up — the first, in fact, between any of the ‘major’ team sports of football, basketball, or baseball.
It is just the second state title in the sport for Desert Vista, the other coming in 2008, although it has been to four state-title games. This was just the second time that Mountain Pointe has played in a state championship game.
It was a good thing this game was held in ASU’s Desert Financial Arena (formerly Wells Fargo Arena) because the crowd that showed up Tuesday night would not have fit into a high school gym.
This was the third collision this season between the rivals, with Desert Vista winning both games during the regular season, 73-63 in January and 67-59 four weeks ago. The championship game was a logistical mismatch between the top-seeded Desert Vista (28-3) and Mountain Pointe (16-12), the No. 11 seed in the tourney.
Mountain Pointe had difficulty dealing with a zone defense that featured the intimidating, shot-swatting Ighodaro in the middle. And when he wasn’t under the basket, he was popping up on the perimeter, where he drained three of his four 3-point attempts. The senior will be playing at Marquette next year.
Sophomore point guard Desean Lecque finished with 21 points for Desert Vista, while Mark Brown (18 pts.) and TJ Tigler (14) led the scoring for the Pride.
In the girls’ game, it would have been difficult to predict a Valley Vista win based on how the Monsoon played in the first quarter against the defending champion from Chandler. They missed their first 10 shot attempts, didn’t get a basket until several minutes into the second quarter, and had eight turnovers in the first eight minutes — generated by an effective full-court press the Huskies used to open the game.
Valley Vista (29-3), behind the torrid scoring of Isai and Davis, made it a game that wasn’t decided until the final seconds on the clock. Isai’s pair of free throws with 33 seconds left to play tied the game at 38-38, and then she made two more with three seconds left to cap the 42-38 win.
Hamilton’s junior guard Amyah Reeves was the top scorer for the Huskies (23-8), finishing the night with 12 points and adding three rebounds and three steals.
Valley Vista, which has already won three state titles in the last four years, should be a team to watch again next year. Isai, a sophomore guard, and Davis, a junior forward, will be back to help the Monsoon try for another title.
They’ll also have momentum, taking an 18-game winning streak into the ’20-21 season.