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What's ahead for boys, girls hoops in 2nd half

January 6, 2020 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365


Skyline has lived up to its billing as a top 6A boys contender so far, notching a pair of invitational titles and absorbing just one defeat on the court as 2020 begins. (Azpreps365 photo).

The second half of the basketball season begins this week with region play dominating schedules through mid-February. Many top boys and girls teams have lived up to preseason accolades. Others have performed better than anticipated. Some have fallen short of expectations.

The first power rankings of the season will be released on Tuesday Jan. 7 at noon to give hoop fans a better idea of where their team stands.

Below is a glance at games of note this week (Jan. 7-11) with an emphasis on East Valley and Northeast Valley schools: 

BOYS

6A

Living up to accolades - Skyline (14-2), Desert Vista (12-2), Cesar Chavez (9-5), Hamilton (9-3). Better than anticipated - Highland (11-5), Corona del Sol (11-3), Desert Ridge (12--4). 

Games to keep an eye on this week:  Jan. 7 - Cesar Chavez at Desert Ridge, Mesa at Skyline, Highland at Desert Vista. Jan. 10 -  Pinnacle at Brophy, Desert Ridge at Corona, Chandler at Hamilton.

5A

Living up to accolades -  Millennium 10-5, Ironwood 15-2, Gilbert 11-3, Paradise Valley 11-4, Sunnyslope 10-4. Better than anticipated - Cactus Shadows 14-1, Sunrise Mountain 13-2, Centennial 12-4.

Games to keep an eye on this week:  Jan. 9 - Gilbert at Millennium. Jan. 10 - Paradise Valley at Cactus Shadows, Apollo at Sunnyslope.

4A

Living up to accolades  - Salpointe 14-0, Peoria 11-3, Catalina Foothills 13-1, Desert Edge 14-1, Buckeye 10-2. Arcadia 11-3,  Shadow Mtn. 9-2, St.Mary's 11-3. Better than anticipated - Deer Valley 9-5.

Games to keep an eye on this week: Jan. 7 - Desert Edge at Deer Valley. Jan. 10 - Deer Valley at Arcadia.

3A

Top teams from the East Valley are Valley Christian (13-1) and American Leadership Academy Queen Creek (8-7). Don't be fooled by ALA-QC's record. Five of its seven losses are to very good 6A or 5A schools. The other two losses are to Valley Christian and conference favorite Paradise Honors (12-5). Paradise Honors losses are to four out-state schools and Chinle in double overtime. Up north Page (11-1) and Winslow (13-5) are playing well.

Game to keep an eye on this week: Jan. 11 - Valley Christian vs. Paradise Honors  at St. Mary's HS.

2A

Top teams in Northeast Valley are Scottsdale Christian (9-3) and Rancho Solano (9-9). Rancho Solano is 3-0 vs. 2A schools and all of its other games are against 6A-3A schools, which include all its other wins and losses.

Game to keep an eye on this week: Jan. 7 - Gilbert Christiain at Scottsdale Christian. 

GIRLS

6A

Living up to accolades - Hamilton (11-4), Perry (9-4), Valley Vista (9-3,) Chandler (13-4), Xavier Prep (12-3).  Better than anticipated - Sandra Day O'Connor (14-1), Dobson (13-3). 

Games to keep an eye on this week: Jan. 9 - Hamilton at Perry, Pinnacle at Sandra Day O'Connor, Dobson at Valley Vista. Jan. 10 - Hamilton at Chandler, Xavier Prep at Pinnacle.

5A

Living up to accolades - Millennium (9-3), Sunrise Mountain (11-3), Casteel (9-6). Better than anticipated - Cactus Shadows (13-3). 

Games to keep an eye on this week: Jan. 7 - Desert Mountain at Sunrise Mountain.

4A

Living up to accolades - Sahuaro (14-0), Shadow Mountain (12-3), Seton Catholic (11-3), Salpointe (12-2).  Better than anticipated -  Estrella Foothills (16-3), Saguaro (10-4).

Game to keep an eye on this week: Jan. 10 - Sahuaro at Salpointe. 

3A

Quite a mix of competitive teams led by Page (10-2), Ganado (15-1), Sabino (11-4), Snowflake (11-3), Tanque Verde (14-4), Gilbert Christian (12-2) and American Leadership-Gilbert (9-3). Ganado beat and array of 6A and 4A teams to win the Lady Titan Classic at Arcadia. Snowflake has handed Ganado its only loss and Page has been as consistent as any school of the bunch. All of Sabino's losses were at the Nike TOC. The Sabercats won the Miner Webster Invite in late November.

Game to keep an eye on this week: Jan. 7 - Chinle at Page.

2A

As is the case in 3A, 2A has solid teams from all locales. Defending champ San Carlos (13-3), Bisbee (17-0), Leading Edge Academy Gilbert (10-4), St. John Paul II (10-1), Valley Lutheran (11-1) and Camp Verde (14-2) are playing well.

Game to keep an eye on this week: Jan. 9 - Snowflake at Alchesay.