The state playoff races are heating up for some
of the area high school teams, including those from both Tempe and McClintock high schools who have an opportunity to go far in the
Corona’s boys soccer team is currently still in the
Tempe Boys Soccer
Tempe’s boys soccer team entered the 4A state championship playoffs as the No. 1 seed after going undefeated with a 12-0 record. The Buffaloes defeated No. 16 Shadow Mountain 7-0 in the first round Jan. 31 and No. 8 Washington 3-1 on Feb. 3 in the quarterfinals.
Senior Andres Hernandez scored three of the Buffaloes seven goals against Shadow Mountain and is credited with six points. The other four goals were spread out with each of the following players: seniors Jonathan Dominguez and juniors Angel Valadez, Mariano Leon and Rigo Zamundio.
In the Buffaloes 3-1 win against Washington, Hernandez scored two goals and Zamundio one.
Sports . . .
After 14 games, Zamundio leads the team in goals and points with 16 goals or 1.6 goals a game with 37 points and five assists.
Hernandez was second with 11 goals or one goal a game, 29 points and seven assists. Other goal leaders include seniors Hector Govea with nine goals in seven games and Bravo Johnny with six goals in only four games. The No. 8 Arizona ranked Buffaloes only have two potential matches left in their 4A state championship playoff run.
They are scheduled to play No. 5 Gila Ridge who defeated No. 4 Douglas in the quarterfinals 2-1 on Feb. 7 at Williams Field High School at 5 p.m.
If the Buffaloes defeat Gila Ridge, they will play in the finals Feb. 10 at 2 p.m. at Williams Field High School. This match will also be broadcast live on NFHS Network.
Corona Boys Soccer
Corona’s boys soccer team was scheduled to play the No. 1 seed Brophy in the semifinals on Feb. 7 after initially entering the 6A State Championship Tournament as the No. 13 seed.
The Aztecs, with a 6-4-2 regular season record, entering the post season not ranked as one of the top eight 6A teams, needed to defeat No. 20 Copper Canyon on Jan. 25 in the 6A Conference Play-In Tournament in order to move up to the state championship playoffs.
Getting to the semi-finals was not easy for the Aztecs. In the first round, Corona defeated No. 4 Rincon University in overtime 3-2 on Jan. 31. That win moved the Aztecs into the quarterfinals against No. 5 Pinnacle on Feb. 3.
The Aztecs played Pinnacle to a 2-2 tie that they eventually won 5-2 in penalty kicks leading to a match-up against Brophy at Campo Verde High School on Feb. 7 at 5 p.m. This matchup will be aired on the NFSH Network.
Corona Girls Soccer
Corona was ranked No. 21 at the end of the regular season with a 4-7-1 record which required the Aztecs to play in the 6A Conference Play-In Tournament against No. 12 Tucson on Jan 25 at Palo Verde High Magnet School.
The Aztecs tied Tucson 1-1 but ended up winning 4-2 in penalty kicks to advance to the 6A State Championship Tournament. As the No. 15 seeded team, they played against Perry, the No. 2 seeded team, on Jan. 30.
Perry ended Corona’s playoff hopes by defeating the Aztecs 3-0, but it did not diminish the season especially for the seniors who were honored at the last home match on Jan. 19 against Mountain Pointe. Corona played the Pride into two overtime periods before the game was called a tie at 1-1.
Honored at this last home game were seniors Skylar Brynes, Jenessa Lewis, Destiny
Romero and Abby Robertson, Jordan Alperin, Natalie Swanstrom, Lauren Hollar, Juliana
Lay, Mallory Gornall and Marissa Simental. Brynes played in all 21 soccer matches scoring six goals with nine assists and is leading her team with 21 points.
“Skylar Byrnes is one of the toughest competitors I have ever coached,” said long-time head coach Matt Smith. “She gave her heart and soul to the Aztec soccer program over the past four years.” Robertson was only able to play in 12 matches but scored six goals and 14 points while Romero played in 17 games scoring one goal and four points along with two assists.
“Abby Robinson is one of the all-time Aztec greats,” said Smith. “Her injury really caused a big hole in our lineup. I will always remember her PK in the Tucson game.”
“Destiny Romero is a gritty player who really blossomed as a senior,” said Smith. “There was never a let down from Destiny. She was going to fight every game as hard as she could.”
Lewis, playing defense in 20 matches, scored one goal and three points.
“Jenessa Lewis was a consistent player who was a favorite of her teammates because of her slightly sarcastic fun-loving personality,” said Smith.
Swanstrom and Alperin played strikers for the Aztecs while Hollar, Lay, Gornall and Simental played midfielders between the back defenders and the strikers.
“Natalie Swanstrom is a hard-working player who played a fantastic game down in Tucson and helped us advance to the state tournament,” said Smith.
“Jordan Alperin was one of those kids who showed up every day and gave her best effort, regardless of the individual rewards.”
“Lauren Hollar is a positive player and person who always was an example of how to give of yourself for your team while Juliana Lay was always prepared to play wherever and whenever you wanted her to go,” said Smith. “She demonstrated a great mentality
for anyone playing a team sport.”
“Marissa Simental, even though she only started playing soccer later in her high school career, was another one of those kids who really enjoyed being part of a team and had a positive influence on the rest of the group,” said Smith.
“Mallory Gornall, who transferred to Corona from Seton, gave us a boost late in the season,” said Smith. I’m glad that she was able to play with us this year.”
Tempe Boys Basketball
Tempe’s boys basketball team, before its last regular season game scheduled at home against Saguaro on Feb. 6, was the No. 16 ranked 4A team and no doubt will be playing in the 4A Conference Play-In Tournament scheduled for Feb. 9 at the higher seed.
The game will start at 6:30 p.m. Scheduled to be honored at this last regular season home game on Feb. 6 were seniors Detroit Campbell, Naseem Vigil, Abdul Vaughn, Saveon Carter and Elias Dorris. Campbell has played in all 24 games at the forward position shooting 38% of his shots behind the three-point line, pulling in 29 rebounds and dishing out 11 assists.
Vigil is the leading scorer on the team playing in 22 games amassing 436 points making 53 percent of his two-point attempts and 29 percent of his three-point attempts.
He grabbed 63 rebounds over the season and handed out 43 assists. Vaughn, playing in only 16 games, scored 109 points and pulled down 77 rebounds with 13 assists while Carter scored an average of close to two points a game while averaging 1.2 rebounds and Dorris scored 71 points with 37 rebounds and 17 assists seeing minutes in 13 games.
The Buffaloes will be counting on Vigil and the next two leading scorers on the team, juniors Jalen Gant and Kameron Spivey-Johnson, to help the team win their play-in tournament game in order to move into the 4A state championships.
Gant, besides being the second leading scorer with 320 points, hitting 59 percent of his attempts, is the leading rebounder with 208 rebounds in 24 games. He also is credited with 38 assists.
Spivey-Johnson is the assist leader on the team dishing out 139 assists along with his 276 points in 23 games. He is also the second leading rebounder with 114 rebounds. Juniors Bryant Jzathavyon and Emmanuel Gore and sophomores Forrest Swope and Michel Milambu have all played most of the first 24 regular season games.
Swope has scored 118 points, grabbed 80 rebounds and passed well enough to get 21 assists while Milambu has 60 points, 53 rebounds and 45 assists.
Gore has played in 22 games and is credited with 74 points 69 rebounds and 11 assists on the stat sheet. Although Jzathavyon has only seen action in 17 games, he is the fourth leading scorer on the team with 133 points, 56 rebounds and 26 assists.
Other member of Tempe’s boys basketball team contributing to the success of the team on and off the court include juniors Montell Keaton, Eduardo Urbina and Isaiah Koppen.
McClintock Boys Basketball
The Chargers, with only one regular season game remaining, are ranked No. 7 with a 12-5 regular season record. They have a good chance to be one of the top eight teams who automatically qualify for the 5A State Championship Tournament.
McClintock was scheduled to play at Vista Grande in Casa Grande on Feb. 5. The Chargers should defeat the Spartans who are ranked 39 in the 5A Division with a 6-18 record.
The Chargers are led by junior Josh Baker who has played in all 25 games averaging 20.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.6 steals a game. He has hit 68 three-pointers shooting close to 40 percent.
Over the regular season Baker has scored 521 of the teams 1592 points or approximately one-third of the points.
The second leading scorer on the team is sophomore Armani Williams followed by junior Mekhi Rodgers. Williams has scored 265 points while Rodgers is credited with 240 points.
Along with Baker, Williams and Rodgers, junior Jordan Martin has been credited with 25 treys hitting 38 percent of his 65 attempts. Martin has scored 122 points playing in all 25 games.
Junior Jalen Calvert may not score as many points as some of the other players but under the basket his is a defensive nightmare for opponents with his blocking ability. He has amassing an incredible 68 blocks in 25 games far outdistancing any other player on his team. Calvert also has 113 rebounds, 12 assists and 29 steals to his credit.
Senior Lawrence Charles has played in all 25 games and is credited with 118 points, 54 rebounds, 32 steals, and 27 assists while fellow senior Andre Thurman has seen action in 22 games grabbing the same number of rebounds as Calvert, 113, to be the second leading rebounder on the team.
Thurman is also credited with 155 points, 25 assists and 14 steals.
Junior Donavan Williams has seen minutes in all 25 games scoring 94 points with 47 rebounds, 47 assists and 26 steals.
Other members of this highly successful team include senior Gatwech Loroa, juniors Will Roberts and Rook Wood, sophomore Aiden Penry and two freshman players, Khashmier Saxton and Darius Ward.
The 5A State Championship Tournament first round starts Feb. 13 at the higher seed. The quarterfinals are scheduled for Feb. 16, once again at the higher seed. The Semifinals will be Feb. 20 at Wells Fargo Area. The championship finals will be Feb. 27 once again at Wells