Sunnyslope showed this weekend a lack of star power isn't likely to hinder its bid to repeat as state champion in 5A basketball.
Sunnyslope's solid depth and accompanying experience was evident as the Vikings captured the title of the 7th annual PrimeTime boys hoops Invite at Red Mountain High School. Sunnyslope took down 6A Desert Vista, 52-37, in the final. None of the eight teams in the tournament went unbeaten.
Sunnyslope bolted to a 10-2 lead in the first six minutes and never let Desert Vista seriously threaten the lead.
"We came together and played pretty well," Sunnsylope coach Ray Portela said. "I think out best game was against Basha (semis), but this one wasn't bad. These guys don't care about accolades. They play as one rather than individuals."
Senior forward Chris Orozco and senior guard Jaran Whitfield were all-tournament selections for Sunnyslope with Orozco netting tourney MOP honors. Neither scored in double figures in the title game. An illustration that others can't be ignored and can step up.
"We can have different guys at different times have a big game," Portela said prior to the tournament.
Senior guards Bryson Mewhinney and Allan Abayev handled Desert Vista's pressure and trapping quite well. Mewhinney led Sunnyslope with 12 points and Abayev added 10 in the final. Senior Terrence Gilder and Orozco tallied nine points each and senior Andrew Murphy scored all six of his points in the first half inside to pick up for Orozco.
"We don't have guys being recruited by major schools," Portela said. "I think our guys know that and play with a little chip on their shoulder."
Desert Vista was led in the champinship game by senior Christian Anigwe's 12 points, nine in the second half. Senior Wes Harris, an all-tournament selection, was limiite to nine points but had a trio of big games prior to the final. Harris had a huge block and made two free throws in the final seconds of the semifinals againts Brophy Prep to give the Thunder a 54-53 victory.
Brophy, led by all-tournament selection Jaxson Baker, finished third with a 56-34 win ove Basha. Hamilton, which dealt Sunnyslope a loss in a warm-up game Friday night, topped Liberty for fifth-place, 50-44. Hamilton's Rashan Smith was tabbed for the all-tournament team as was Basha's Brennen Davis.
Seventh-place went to Chandler with a victory over host Red Mountain. Final records of the teams for the two days -- Sunnyslope, Desert Vista, Hamilton, Brophy all 3-1; Chandler 2-2; Basha and Liberty 1-3 and Red Mountain 0-4.