The Aztecs started an upswing Jan. 15 by defeating Mesa Mountain View 62-53.
The Aztecs were able to use their speed to drive to the basket for layups and dunks. Corona rapidly built a 12-5 lead before letting their guard down on defense to allow the Toros to go on an 8-0 run of their own to end the quarter up one point at 13-12.
Corona recaptured the lead midway through the second quarter on a three-point shot by Alex Barcello to put the Aztecs up 20-19. They then took a 30-24 lead on a trey by Jeff McCain just seconds before the half-time buzzer.
Tyrell Henderson’s shot just inside the three-point line to end the third quarter helped the Aztecs build a 39-31 lead.
“Alex Barcello, Saben Lee and Tyrell Henderson are our consistent top-three scorers in every game,” said MacDonald, “but Jeff McCain has recently stepped up his scoring.”
In the fourth quarter, the Aztecs turned up their defense, forcing Mountain View to resort to fouling to try to get the ball back. The Toros never got any closer than seven points, at 55-48, while the Aztecs made clutch free-throws to end the game 62-53.
Barcello was the leading scorer for the Aztecs with 23 points, followed by Henderson with 13; Lee had 8.
Three days later, the Aztecs’ shots would not go down in their 67-62 loss against azcentral,com’s No. 1 team Phoenix Shadow Mountain in a Martin Luther King Day game at the Matadors’ gym on Jan 18.
After being down 15-8 in the first quarter, Dalen Dorsey was a bright spot off the bench for the Aztecs when he hit a trey to stop the bleeding and cut the lead to 15-11.
The Aztecs still ended the half down by 12 points at 31-19. Besides Dorsey’s three-pointer, Alex Barcello was about the only one who could make a basket scoring 12 of Corona’s 19 first half points.
Led again by Barcello in the second half, the Aztecs went on an 11-6 run, cutting the Matadors’ lead to seven points at 37-30 midway through the third quarter. Then Corona trailed Shadow Mountain by only three points at 42-39 after a layup by Lee to end the third.
Unfortunately, the Aztecs may have won the third quarter but lost starting forward Nate Marshall to injury for the rest of the game in what appeared to be a broken nose.
The Matadors went on their own 10-2 run to start the fourth quarter and go up 52-41.
Shane Grier gave the Aztecs hope when he hit a three-pointer with a little less than five minutes in the quarter and then followed it with a two-point basket to bring Corona within six points at 55-49 with four minutes to go.
Barcello and McCain would each score a trey to pull Corona within three points, but the Aztecs, even with a couple of chances to tie the game in the second half, could never get a three-point shot to fall when they needed it.
With a little more than 30 seconds in the game and trailing by five points, Corona had to resort to fouling to stop the clock and try to get the ball back. Shadow Mountain hit their free throws down the stretch to win 67-62.
Barcello led all scorers with 28 points.
The Aztecs have played a tough schedule this season and it doesn’t look to get any easier from here on out.
“We have played an extremely tough schedule, including several nationally ranked teams,” said MacDonald. “We have managed to battle each night and still remain together as a team.”
The Aztecs are going to need a team effort when they play Jan. 20 against No. 4 ranked Basha at home before playing at Perry Jan. 22 and at Chandler Jan. 29.
Corona’s last three games of the regular season are at home against Mountain Pointe Feb. 2; at Dobson Feb. 8; and senior night at home against Gilbert Feb. 10.
CDS Hall of Fame — Corona del Sol inducted five recipients into the school’s third Hall of Fame class at halftime during the boys basketball game Jan. 20.
Brittany Cole, the all-time leading goal scorer and point producer in the history of Corona’s girls soccer program, according to coach Matt Smith.
“Brittany scored the game winning goal in back-to-back state championship games (2006 and 2007) and was two-time Gatorade Player of the Year,” said Smith. “Corona’s teams, during her four year’s tenure playing in the toughest region at the highest level of high school soccer, went 96-8-5.”
“Brittany is one of the hardest working players I have coached in 19 years of high school soccer,” said Smith. “She was a humble team player who loved competing and winning—and she did it well.”
Susan Mortensen Turley was a cross country and track star at Corona who went on to compete for the University of Arizona cross-country and track teams. She was selected as Corona’s 2001 female Student Athlete of the Year. Susan was diagnosed with colon cancer shortly after her marriage in 2008 and passed away at the age of 25.
Bob Gilbert, the legendary CdS basketball and baseball coach who worked at Corona from 1983 to 1996, was an assistant coach for the 1989 and 1994 state championship boys basketball teams and was the assistant coach of the 1993 Corona baseball teams first state championship.
Ron Davini was Corona’s head baseball coach for 28 years starting when the school opened in 1977, winning 410 games before retiring in 2005. Corona was state champion runner up in 1991 and won its first state championship in 1993, both under coach Davini. He was previously inducted into the Arizona Coaches Association and the Arizona Baseball Coaches.
Dave Vibber coached at Corona for 30 years in three different sports. His teams won state titles in 1980 in football; 1982 in track and field; and in 2009 in wrestling. As the wrestling coach, his teams won 403 dual meets, 6 Central Division crowns and the 5A State Championship. He is a member of the Arizona HS Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame.
Marcos de Niza Boys soccer — The Padres boys soccer team, sporting a 4-3 record in Division III, lost their match against Seton Catholic Prep, Jan. 14, 0-5. They are scheduled to play their last two matches in the regular season at home.
On Jan. 21, the Padres play Coronado and on Jan.25 South Mountain. Both games will be on Marcos de Niza’s home field and start at 6 p.m. Jan. 25 will be senior night.
The Division II state tournament first round is scheduled Feb. 3 starting at 7 p.m. at the higher seed. The second round is scheduled for 2 p.m. Feb. 6 also at the higher seed.
The semi-finals are scheduled for Feb. 10 at 5 and 7 p.m., while the finals are Feb. 13 at 6:30 p.m. at Williams Field High School in Gilbert.