Thunder rolls… and wins Nike Tournament bracket

    Arizona high schools got off to a slow start but did well on the final day of the Nike Tournament of Champions, held again this year in Chandler.  But it was Desert Vista HS that wrapped up the only championship as the four-day showcase of girls basketball wrapped up yesterday.
    The Thunder (team photo) won its bracket of the prestigious
tourney with a 65-55 victory over Campolindo HS of California, capping
an undefeated run through the event, which came to the Valley in 2001. 
The event draws many of the top teams from all over the country and has
showcased 10 of the past 12 USA Today national champions.
    Austen Harris, a senior
guard for Desert Vista, had a game-high 27 points in the championship
game and was also named Most Valuable Player in the Blue Bracket.
    There were four games that matched up Valley teams on the final day
of the tournament.  Seton Catholic HS deafeated McClintock HS, 61-30;
Gilbert HS downed Pinnacle HS, 65-61; Red Mountain HS won over Basha
HS, 39-36; and it was Williams Field HS over Horizon HS, 57-52.
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Prestigious Nike tourney includes local HS teams

    It’s a rocky road again this year for Arizona high school girls basketball teams competing in the huge Nike Tournament of Champions, which began last Friday and runs through Wednesday at various Chandler-area gyms.  The tournament is one of the more prestigious national events, having showcased 10 of the past 12 USA Today national champions; St. Mary’s of Stockton, Calif., is currently ranked No. 1 and is entered in the TOC.
    This year, 16 Arizona squads are competing in a field of 84 teams that include four of USA Today‘s top five nationally-ranked teams.  Just four survived dropping into the losers’ bracket after the first round Friday. 
    Shadow Mountain HS defeated St. Anthony of California, 55-49; Horizon HS beat St. Monica of California by 10, 42-32; and Chandler HS squeeked by Lynwood HS of California, 74-73.  Mountain View HS enjoyed the largest margin of victory with a 68-51 win over Mercer Island of Washington.
  All four teams lost in the second round on Saturday.  But it was a better day for some of those suffering first-round losses, as Gilbert HS, Basha HS, Pinnacle HS, Boulder Creek HS, Red Moutain HS, and Hamilton HS enjoyed wins.
    Sunday is a day off, with play resuming Monday morning.  For the first time, there will be a couple of match-ups of local teams as Shadow Mountain HS and Mountain View HS square off in a 12:30 game at Basha HS, followed later in the day by a game between Boulder Creek HS and Red Mountain HS at Willis Junior High in Chandler, with tip-off at 3:30.
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