Holiday Hoops Breakdown by The ICE!

Semi Finals Tip Off Today...

If you want basketball, well, it doesn't get much better than this.  Once stepping into the gymnasium at McClintock High School, host for the past decade of one of the most exciting holiday tournaments, you can't help but catch the fever.  There were eight games on Friday and another eight  games on Saturday resulting in a near overdose for this basketball junkie.

First, let's quickly recap the winners of Friday's first round action:

Chandler over Moon Valley
Brophy over Carl Hayden
Scottsdale Saguaro over Horizon
Desert Vista over Desert Mountain
Mesa Mountain View over Paradise Valley
Hamilton over Marcos de Niza
Mclintock over Goldwater
Carona del Sol over St. Mary's

Not really any surprises here but  a couple of near upsets with Paradise Valley and Desert Mountain coming close.   Desert Mountain lost starting sophomore Zach Greenberg three minutes into the contest Friday against Desert Vista after he received an elbow (inadvertent) from Vista's Xavier Kilby.  The blow knocked out two of Greenberg's front teeth and as a result sidelined him for the remainder of the contest.  This proved to be a crucial blow to the Wolve's offence, for Zach really is a major part of it's production.  It was nice to see him on the sidelines Saturday supporting his team and gingerly participating in warm-ups. 

Saturday's consolation quarterfinal results:

Moon Valley over Carl Hayden
Horizon over Desert Mountain
Paradise Valley over Marcos de Niza
St. Mary's over Goldwater

Monday's consolation semifinal schedule is:

Paradise Valley vs St. Mary's  @  4:00
Moon Valley vs Horizon    @  5:30pm

The winners of each semifinal game will meet Tuesday December 30 @ 5:00.

On to the CHAMPIONSHIP BRACKET and the 4:00 game against Mesa Mountain View Toros and Hamilton Huskies.  This game really shouldn't have been as close as it was, and as a matter of fact, the Huskies had many opportunities to grab the "W" but.....the game went to the Toros.

This game started very physical and sloppy and the referees did not let it get out of control.  So much so that both teams were in the bonus seven minutes into the first half.  The Huskies began the contest up 4-0 but this sparked a 12-0 run from the Toros.  Threes from Tyler Molesworth and Max Hall quickly gave the Toros the lead early on.  Both teams played great defense in the first resulting in many turnovers, unfortunately, neither team seemed to want to capitalize on them.  It looked as if the Toros were going to run away with this one but the Huskies, behind the leadership of senior guard Brian Schaffer, went on a 10-3 run to pull within one with aminute left in the first half.  Shaffer netted 12 of the Huskies 26 first half points.  The half ended with the Toros up 29-26.

The second saw the Huskies a bit more poised than in the first and 90 seconds into the half knotted the score at 31-31.  For the next two and ahalf minutes each team decided to take a scoring break and no points were scored.  Hamilton finally regained the lead with eleven minutes remaining 34-33.  Each team really couldn't find or flat out lost their rhythm and decided to take another two minute scoring vacation.  Someone must have scolded the refs for their whistle happy lips in the first half because nothing was being called in the second.  This added to the lack of scoring and the frustration on the players and coaches was evident.  With seven minutes remaining, Hamilton saw their last lead of the contest 36-35 disappear for good as Max Hall and Molesworth drained back to back threes to finally turn the tide for the Toros.  The Huskies tried one last run with Shaeffer hitting a three and followed it with a steal and another deuce. With two minutes left the Huskies found themselves only down two, but that was as close as they would come. The outside shooting for Mountain View was just to much for the Huskies to overcome.  The Toros had nine threes for the game and when they didn't fall, center Eric Bossom was there for the offensive boards.  Bossom finished with 10 points and countless boards.  Max Hall was top scorer for Mountain View with 17.  The high scorer for the contest was Hamilton's Brian Schaffer with 22 points but it wasn't enough.  Mountain View took the victory 54-49.  

The 5:30 game was for me a much anticipated match up between the Brophy Broncos and the Chandler Wolves.  This game was over two minutes into the game when it became apparent that it would be the Broncos against Joey Shaw, junior center and extraordinar for the Wolves.  Unfortunately he was the majority of Chandler's offense in both halves and against the potent offense that the Bronco's bring to the court, your going to need more than one man to beat them.  From the start, the Broncos led this contest and never relinquished the lead.  Nothing super special unless you like great team basketball.  I need not say anymore, look at these numbers!

Thanasi Panagiotakopoulos 10 points
David Schneider 12 points
Kevin Schneider 15 points
Kyle Westfall               14 points
Michael Strittmatter 19 points
Jake Lewis                8  points

Are you kidding me? Almost six players in double digit scoring. This team, when on, can compete with anyone not to mention that they are super fun to watch.  Some very unique shooting styles ranging from doing the two step at the charity line to releasing a three point bomb from around your chin
(nothing but net).  May not look great but the end result usually is a "w" in win column.  This is a team that is fundamentally sound and are matched up on Monday with a very similar team. (Saguaro @ 8:30pm)  This will be "team basketball" at it's best.  Be there!!

Chandler, like I said, did not have the shooting depth necessary to keep up with the Broncos.  Shaw ended the game with 32 points and put on a display that would catch any recruiters eye.  At 6'6", he is very quick and has excellent touch from anywhere on the court.  Look for big things from this kid.  Sophomore guard, Lawrence Westbook, also had a nice game, finishing with 16 and a perfect 6-6 from the charity stripe.  All not enough as the final score of this game was 78-66 in favor of Brophy.

It was the host team McClintock Chargers vs Corona del Sol Aztecs tipping off at 7:00 pm.  This game could have been won by either team as it stood close the entire time.  If only more than one individual on each team would have came to play.  Could have put on the schedule Gabe Freeman(McClintock) vs Dan Winterbottom(Corona).  

Game began very sloppy for the Chargers as they fell behind early 8-2 going 1-6 from the outside six minutes into the game.  The tempo of the game was quick as both teams showed there speed both offensively and defensively. Unfortunately not many shots were falling early and not many (if any)
fouls were being called early on.  The referees let these two teams play and run.  Lucky nobody was hurt in this one. 

The Chargers behind senior forward Gabe Freeman tied the game at 14 midway through the first half and from that point on controlled the rest of the half.  At the half it was 25-20 in favor of the Chargers.

The second half was a showcase of two players.  Freeman poured in 20 of his 31 in the second and his opponent, senior Dan Winterbottom, scored 11 of his 20 points.  In the end though, Corona just could not get anyone else involved in this game and just could not shut down Freeman.  The Aztecs stayed close and swapped the lead a couple times in the second but just did not have enough in the end.  The Chargers won this one 50-47 in one of the ugliest games of the tournament. 

The final game of the night was Desert Vista vs Scottsdale Saguaro.  The Iceman had to go get his beauty rest and missed this match up and I'm sorry I did.  The Cats upset Desert Vista on what I heard was a shooting clinic by Danny O'Boyle for Saguaro.  Nothing confirmed except for the victor. 
Nice win Sabercats!

Schedule for the Championship Semi Finals on Monday:

Mountain View vs McClintock @ 7:00pm
Brophy vs Saguaro @ 8:30pm

This is basketball at it's best and much thanks to McClintock High School and it's administration for putting on such a top notch event. 

See you,


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