Corona del Sol Super Smash Brothers esports team completes unbeaten season with state title

The Arizona Interscholastic Association now sanctions electronic sports, or esports, as an official interscholastic competition. Matches are staged in high-tech esports labs. – file photo


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Corona del Sol High’s Super Smash Brothers electronic sports ultimate team beat Seton Catholic, 2-1, in the championship match for the 2021 AIA Fall Super Smash Brothers Esports State Championship and an undefeated season.

Alex Zener

In the state semifinals, Corona, 12-0, upset heavily favored Brophy by a score of 2-1.

Esports in its third year as an AIA sanctioned interscholastic competition. Like traditional sports, esports requires teamwork, communication, critical and strategic thinking, creativity, sportsmanship and leadership.

The AIA offers competition in “League of Legends,” “Rockey League,” Nintendo’s “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” and “Splatoon 2,”Electronic Arts’ “FIFA 21” and “Madden 21.”

Corona’s team includes Ethan Pouncey, Aiden Mikissic, Mark Hernandez, Jessie Crandal, Leo Mitchell and Dominic LoFranco, coached by Kellen Castillo.

In the state championship match on Dec. 4, Pouncey won, 3-0, Mikissic, 3-2, while Hernandez lost, 3-0.

More information on AIA esports competition:


Corona boys basketball

The Aztecs, with a three-game streak, started 5-3, with victories over Cesar Chavez, 55-51; North, 56-37, and Basha, 46-33. They were to play Mesa Mountain View on Dec. 14 at home.

“We feel we are just starting to come together after such a strange season last year,” said coach Neil MacDonald.

Corona returns eight players but only six have been available on a consistent basis.

“Our starting lineup has shifted some from game to game due to illness and injuries,” MacDonald said.

Senior guard Quinn Thorne, senior forward Peyton Beauer, sophomore guard Preston Lee, senior guard Hunter Stratton, junior center Ollie Hinder and senior guard Raymond Lam are experienced players getting the most minutes.

Senior guard Brandon Lee and senior forward Nikola Kostadinovski have been dealing with injuries.

New to the varsity are senior power forward Vin Hutcherson, junior guard Retief Yellowman, junior Miles Smith, sophomore Mihail Kostadinovski and freshman Jordan Lee. Six-foot-6 sophomore Bo Dolinsek, who plays on the JV also, will dress for varsity games.

“Jordan Lee and Mihail, Nikola’s younger brother, have both added a big spark to our lineup this year,” said MacDonald  “They have already both made huge contributions.”

Corona takes great pride in its defense.

“For us, defense is a whole team effort. Most of our early success has come from our team’s defense and our ability to get stops when we need them,” said MacDonald. “Jordan Lee has been very active on defense for us and Peyton Beauer has already taken 10 charges in our first eight games.

“We are defending well in the half court but still working to get our offense up to speed with our defense.”

The offense revolves around ball and player movement, according MacDonald.

“But when we need a basket, Quinn Thorne is a guy we look to and also Preston Lee who has made some big shots for us this season,” MacDonald said.

Rebounding and steals also are important for the Aztecs, he said.

“Mihail Kostadinovski has led us in rebounding, along with Peyton Beauer.” MacDonald said. “Jordan and Preston Lee have been able to create a lot of turnovers while Hunter Stratton has been one of our very best on-ball defenders.”

Stratton, along with Lam, showed remarkable improvement in the off season according to MacDonald.

“Ollie Hinder works hard in practice and continues to improve every day,” MacDonald said.

MacDonald is optimistic about the Aztecs ’continuing their early success.

“We are sure that as the season goes on, we will continue to improve,” he said. “We have an excellent group of young men whose attention to our culture, their attitude, and their efforts are all solid. We can’t ask for more than that.”

Starting Dec. 20, Corona will play in the Visit Mesa tournament at Mountain View High.

First up will be Perry at 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 20, then Rancho Solano Prep at 10 a.m. on Dec. 21, Smoky Hill at 2:30 on Dec. 22 and an opponent and time to be determined on Dec. 23.

The Aztecs next regular-season matchup will be Jan. 4 at home against Scottsdale Chaparral. On Jan. 7 they will play at home against Desert Ridge.




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