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Corona honors its basketball seniors; Aztecs score huge win over San Luis; Sports Notebook

By: Alex Zener

January 12, 2008

Corona honors basketball seniors

The CdS boys basketball program honored seven senior players and their parents before the game against San Luis on Jan. 8.

In addition to team captains Nick Timpone and Alex Zener, the seniors credited for their hard work and dedication to Corona basketball were Aaron Foshie, Louis Feinberg, Nikhil Kulkarni, Mike McCoy and Logan Roberts.

The easy win for the Aztecs, 108-5, was like icing on the cake after the team had some impressive wins over the winter break, finishing second in the McClintock Holiday Shoot-out.

The Aztecs had a difficult schedule in the preseason, losing several games by three or fewer points. Instead of throwing in the towel, competing against some of the best teams in the state has helped this Aztec team get better.

“We have been consistently improving, said Coach Sam Duane Jr. “We have proven that we are a very good team. Finishing second in the McClintock Tournament was a great accomplishment.”

Corona easily won its first game in the McClintock Shootout against Canyon del Oro. Everyone on the team, including David Whitmore, Tory Gomez and Grant Walton, had productive minutes on the court with Mike Stahl scoring 7 big points and getting an impressive steal for the 6’6”, 250-lb junior.

The second highly competitive game was against cross-town rival Marcos de Niza. Several of the players had been teammates in middle school so both teams came out ready to play ball. The Aztecs pulled out a win with a 2-point put back by Zener at the buzzer for a 65-63 score.

The third game was against Loyola, a Southern California team that showed up in the desert with an impressive roster expecting to take back the championship trophy.

The Aztecs were not impressed, with McCoy putting up 12 first-half points and Leland Devlin adding 17 on several back-to-back threes which had CdS going into the locker room leading 43-28 at the half.

Loyola made several runs in the second half but never was able get any closer than 3 points especially after Tarik Smith came off the bench to go coast-to-coast for a lay-up that had the home-town crowd on their feet. 

Devlin ended up with a season-high 34 points and Timpone made several clutch free-throws at the end to seal the 87-80 win.

Corona was not able to beat St. Mary’s in the championship game, losing 59-66, despite a big game from Kulkarni who scored 6 points and had several steals. Even though the Aztecs lost in the finals, several positive highlights came out of the tournament.

Devlin and Timpone made the all-tournament team and Coach Duane was pleased with the progress his team had made.

“Our bench and depth was a big plus and a key for our success,” said Duane. “Our scoring was also much more balanced throughout the tournament which we really need,” added Duane.

CdS finds itself over 50 percent for this first time with 6 wins and only 2 losses in their last 8 games for an overall 8-7 record after soundly beating Brophy 63-47, on Jan. 7, with Andrew Fox scoring a season-high 12 points.

The Aztecs had a game schedule that included Jan. 10 against Boulder Creek at home; Tuesday, Jan. 15, at St. Mary’s; and Thursday, Jan. 17, at Red Mountain before they enter the always highly competitive Central Region play Jan. 22 against Mt. Pointe at home.

“I believe our team is as prepared as anyone as we approach region play,” said Duane. “The team has made rebounding and defending a priority, and we’ve tried to get teams into an up-tempo game which better suits the style we play and want.

“Additionally, we will have to continue to get better and will have to raise our intensity defensively on a consistent basis every game to be successful in the Central Region.”

Duane is also counting on the Aztecs’ depth, which has allowed the team to develop a strong bench and match-up better with opposing teams. 

“Our bench has come into games and we have not missed a beat,” he said. “Our depth will be another key in determining how successful we will be down the stretch.”

You can find the Aztecs game schedule, results and other information at the team’s website:

The Lady Aztecs have won four of their last six games and made it to the finals in the Red division of the Nike Tournament of Champions held in Chandler over the winter break.

Corona played well the entire tournament, despite battling injuries, and is starting to gain momentum after losing several games in the preseason partly due to their tough schedule. 

CdS has a couple of weeks to fine tune its game before starting region play Jan. 22.

The Lady Aztecs lost to Gilbert Mesquite in the Nike Tournament Red division final despite being within 3 points at 51-49 in the fourth quarter on a basket by Jordyn Wentis.

Corona resorted to fouling in an attempt to get the ball back in their hands so they could score points.  Mesquite responded by making their free throws when Corona put them on the line and the Lady Aztecs could not make up the difference, finally losing 66-60.

Kim Pestaolzzi, Corona’s leading scorer, and Wentis had team highs with 16 points each. Ali Beard, second in rebounds for the team, scored 10.

Wentis leads the team in 3-point shots and blocks, with almost one block a game; she is the second leading scorer with almost 9 points a game.

In addition to Wentis, Pestaolzzi and Ali Beard, Coach Pat Reed has also started getting consistent performance from Nicole Coggins, with over 8 points a game; she leads the team in steals at 33.  Andrea Beard has continued to be a force to be reckoned with in the middle, with almost one block a game and leading the team in rebounds.

Alex Leake has continued to be the leader in assists, averaging almost 4 a game and ranking second in steals at 31. Juqova Cook has been crashing the boards when she is on the floor averaging over 4 rebounds a game and averaging over 4 points a game.

Corona is hoping to keep its train on track going into the second half of the season, but in order to do that they will need to take a long bus ride to Yuma to play San Luis Tuesday night, January 8, and another bus ride to Anthem to play Boulder Creek, January 10.

Their next home games are Tuesday, Jan. 15, against St. Mary’s and Thursday, Jan. 17, against defending 5A-I state champion Red Mountain. 

Region play will start Jan. 22 at Mountain Pointe.

Corona del Sol’s wrestling team won the McClintock wrestling tournament over the holidays, with 10 wrestlers placing against 26 teams.

Every competitor in Corona’s line-up scored, with the team amassing 237 points against the next-best team, Mesa Westwood, at 168 points.

At the start of the season, coach Dan Vibber felt his team would be extremely competitive, but winning the McClintock tournament has given its wrestlers an added incentive to try not only to win the Central Region title but to repeat 5-A state championships in several weight classes and win the state 5A-I team title.

Vibber has five returning state medalists. Junior Luke Macciaroli, in the 215-pound weight class, was state runner-up last year, state champion the year before, and is off to a great start this year with a 23-0 record.

Macciaroli was named outstanding wrestler in the McClintock tournament in the upper weight classes, winning all five of his matches by fall or major decision.

Another returning state medalist is senior Trevor Stapp (280), who was state champion and state tournament MVP last season.

Stapp, along with sophomore Ryan Miller (125), won titles in the McClintock tournament. Miller was state champion in his weight class last year as a freshman.

Another sophomore, Derek Felton (152), state runner-up last year, made the championship final at the McClintock Tournament.

Senior Travis Fulton (160) and junior Kasey Turner (119) also made the championship final at McClintock.

The Aztecs received help in the consolation bracket from varsity wrestlers to help win the McClintock tournament.

Returning seniors Trey McAlister and Skyler Fish, along with juniors Jordin Pagel and David Hoover, have varsity experience and are expected to continue contributing to wins the rest of the season. Varsity lineup newcomers who also expected to pin some opponents to the mat during this season are freshman Ryan Cox, sophomores Justin Cullins, Blake Ortiz, Brad Spadafor and Mike Howard and juniors Kevin Etchells, Patrick Szajna and Sean Larsen.  

Vibber said he hopes to have established his best line-up for the rest of the season, which started Jan. 9 when the Aztecs hosted Yuma Cibola. 

Corona was due to host the Aztec Duals Wrestling Invitational Friday and Saturday, Jan. 11-12. Then the Central Region matches will start, with Coach Vibber expecting Desert Vista to be the team to beat with several other teams looking good in the preseason for the state matches including Mesa, Dobson, Highland and Red Mountain.



Photo by Kris Cartwright


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