Many of last year's girls baskeball finalists figure on accomplishing big things in the coming season as graduation losses were none to minimal for many.
Fans can get a glimpse of many of the top teams from last season Friday June 9 and Saturday June 10 at the 4th annual Lady X (Extravanganza) at Mesquite High School.
The eight schools competing are 5A Mesquite, 6A Valley Vista, 6A Millennium, 4A Seton, 6A Mountain Pointe, 5A Arcadia, 6A Red Mountain and 3A Page. An exhibition game for each school opens competition Friday. The exhibition games are at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. The 5 p.m. games pit Mesquite and Mountain Pointe and Valley Vista and Page. The 6 p.m. games are Seton and Millennium and Red Mountain and Arcadia.
Bracket play follows at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Games at 7 are #8 Page vs. #1 Mesquite and #6 Mountain Pointe vs. #3 Valley Vista. Games at 8 are #4 Millennium vs. #5 Arcadia and #7 Red Mountain vs. #2 Seton. Play picks up Saturday with consolation games at noon and championship semis at 1 p.m. The 7th-place game and consolation final are at 2 p.m. and the title game and 3rd-place game are at 3 p.m.
Mesquite, Valley Vista and Seton won their respective conference championships this past winter. Millennium and Page were runners-up, Mountain Pointe a semifinalist and Arcadia a quarterfinalist. Red Mountain was eliminated in the first round. Schools unable to compete due to conflicts are 6A Hamilton and 6A Gilbert, quarterfinalist and semifinalist, respectively.
Mesquite returns its entire roster from a year ago and is led by Shaylee Gonzales, Lindsey VanAllen and Lauren Gustin. Pending conflicts Mesquite should have at least half of its roster on hand.
Valley Vista features four-year starting guard Taylor Chavez, Clarissa Rodarte and Terysha Banner. Valley Vista and Mesquite met recently in the title game of the Queens of the Court Invite won by Mesquite in double overtime.
Seton's top returners from back-to-back state champs are Sarah Barcello and Kendall Krick. Sarah Barcello is sidelined by a foot injury and Krick is being evaluated for a concussion and is questionable to play. Kendyl Thompson and McKenna Klecker, who saw time in reserve last year, are moving into starting roles. A player to watch is the next Barcello, freshman Amanda, who has looked strong thus far in continuing the extensive family lineage.
Millennium is fresh off a 6-0 effort at the Arizona Christian team camp where it topped Mountain Pointe for the championship. Millennium played without its top two scorers from last year (Dominque Phillips and Ali Zelaya). Phillips is bouncing back from a sprained ankle and Zelaya is out of town. Neither will be available for Lady X.
Millennium coach Cory Rojeck, who had eight freshmen or sophomores on his varsity roster last year, was impressed as his team stepped up without Phillips and Zelaya last week. Solid contributions came from Alaina Diggs, Jasmine Singleton and Shyann Heredia, who were chosen all-tournament.
Mountain Pointe, which graduated its top two scorers, has been led this summer by point guard Izzy Enriquez, forward Eve Kulovitz and forward Kayci Johnson.
Red Mountain is struggling with injuries from a roster that graduated one player in May. Jacquelyn Ries and Braelyn Garcia are recovering from ACL injuries. Leading scorer Amaya West is currently hampered by a sore hamstring and Sam Shoemake a sore hip. Incoming freshmen are getting long looks, including Mya Johnson and Kailey Appel.
Arcadia just started its summer camp and is set to have its players intact for the weekend. The Titans graduated one player in May. Top returnees are Bryce Nixon and Cassidy Campbell. Page is led by seniors-to-be Jacey Salabiye and LeLisa Watson and junior Myka Taliman.