Oree Foster
Staff Writer, AZPreps365.com

Defending state champ Winslow have a target on its back

November 19, 2018 by Oree Foster, AZPreps365

Winslow Bulldogs turned in a fantastic run last year en route to earning the 3A State Championship.

After cutting the nets at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona for capturing the state title, Winslow had instant targets on its back for the 2018-19 boy's basketball season.

Winslow completed its season last year 27-6. The Bulldogs garnered the 3A East Region regular season. The Bulldogs lost to the Blue Ridge Yellowjackets for the 3A Region tournament championship. Winslow paid back Blue Ridge in the state championship game, downing the Yellowjackets for the gold ball trophy.

Five players return for Winslow. They are 3A East First Team All-Region senior guard Darius James, senior post Elias Stewart, senior guard Deangelo Lewis, junior post Zachary Wagner and sophomore guard Tyrell Young.

First-year varsity players include senior post Paul Belin, sophomore guard Zane Corum, senior guard Luke Edgewater, sophomore post Joseph Gonzales, junior guard Josiah Montgomery, sophomore post Dustin Richard, senior guard Cy Singer, senior guard Mike Tafoya and senior guard Cody Yazzie.

Winslow head coach Scott Corum said the Bulldogs are working hard. Corum expects the Bulldogs to play 32 minutes of aggressive basketball.

"We expect to compete every night," Corum said. "When we step on to the court, we just expect to play hard and give our team best effort. We believe that if we play hard every night, we give ourselves a chance to compete for a section title and perhaps go deep into the playoffs."

Corum said he expects all of the Bulldogs' opponents this year will be looking for revenge.

"After winning the state championship last season, we know that we have a big target on our backs," Corum said. "We expect that teams will bring their best effort against us. We will have to match that effort and intensity, night-after-night."

Corum stressed that the Bulldogs play a solid schedule, including freedom games, tournaments and region contests.

"Our freedom games include a lot of teams from the 3A North Region," Corum stated. "They include games against Tuba City, Chinle, Window Rock, Page, Ganado and Monument Valley. We will participate in two tournaments this season, the Sedona Red Rock Classic, where we will see teams like Show Low, Lee Williams and Copper Canyon. Also at the Pepsi Tournament in Flagstaff, where we will see teams like Mingus and Flagstaff. Our section games will include two games each against Snowflake, Show Low, Payson, Holbrook and Blue Ridge.

Corum said 3A East Region is challenging and is full of talent.

"The 3A East Region is always tough," Corum explained. "There are so many good players and coaches in the 3A East Region. Snowflake and Blue Ridge have been two teams that compete for section championship every year. However, coach Thacker at Show Low always gets the most from his players. They are always a tough game as well. Coach Delmar Johnson always seems to get his Holbrook Roadrunners to play at a high level as well. Payson can be tough as well and they often present a match up problem for us. Their size and being physical presents some problems for us."

Corum said 3A schools statewide are strong, talented and possess height.

"As far as the 3A in general, there are some really good teams," Corum stated. "Surprise Paradise Honors have three players over 6-foot-6, including a player that is 6-foot-10. Plus, they have a really good guard in Josh Hawkins. Valley Christian High School is always tough. I think Blue Ridge, who returns some key players from last year's team, will be tough as well."