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Sports Notebook - Aztecs' title slips away

By Nathan Scherotter

Dec 2, 2006

Allowing two late fourth quarter comebacks was not the way the Aztecs wanted to start the 2006 basketball season.

The first two games for the Corona del Sol High School team, however, were a different story. With wins against the Yuma Criminals and highly ranked Mesa Jackrabbits, the Aztecs were poised to win the Thanksgiving Tournament held at Mesa High.

In the championship game, the Aztecs saw their title slip away with an eight-point comeback in the last minute.

The Orange and Yellow dominated the first three quarters of the game, consistently maintaining a 10-point lead. Despite this, missing free throws and turning the ball over down the stretch allowed Desert Mountain Wolves to climb back into the lead. The Aztecs placed a respectable second.

“I thought we did some good things in the tournament,” head coach Sammy Duane said. “We were put in situations that will help us down the road.”

More recently, in the first home game of the season, the Aztecs, in front of a spirited student section, also gave up a final-minute defeat to the Highland Hawks, leaving the Aztecs frustrated to say the least.

“We are learning what it takes to close games out and how to finish off games,” Duane said. “Right now we are making inexperienced mistakes, which are leading to losses instead of wins.”

With a 2-2 record, the team does have many positives from which to build. Starting seniors Brad Carrol and Phil Feinberg have been consistent scorers along with senior Johnny Beerling providing a defensive presence. Junior Nick Timpone has also contributed on both sides of the ball.

“We have a chance to be a good team,” Duane said. “We have beaten a good team in Mesa high and are actually three points away from being undefeated. We are going thru a learning process with guys that have little or no experience.”

However, the main surprise of the year might be sophomore Leland Devlin. Scoring over 20 points in the first two games of the season and adding another 3-point threat gives the Aztecs more depth in its bench.

“Leland, has had some good games and Alex Zener has played well for us,” Duane said.           

The team is trying to focus on the positives and learn from these two previous games.

“We are in a situation right now of learning how to win,” Duane said.

“We hope by league time we can be settled in and be able to make a run in region.”


Photo by Kris Cartwright


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