Rosenthal brings you the 411 on this growing rivalry...

Laveen, AZ-    When people think of the big rivalries in prep basketball, Brophy-St. Mary's comes to mind, as does Mountain Pointe-Desert Vista.  One that often gets overlooked is South Mountain-Cesar Chavez.  And I'm here to tell you, this one is as good as any other in 5A.

    Cesar Chavez High School opened in 1999, in attempt to aid the overcrowded population at South Mountain.  That triggered a natural hatred between the two schools.  Both teams kick their game up a notch when they play one-another.  But as of this point, the South Mountain Jaguars have only lost once to the Champions, a 55-45 win at the Phoenix Union Tournament.

    This season, the Champions have turned heads, compiling a 13-5 record with mainly sophomores and juniors at the core of Gary Lee's team.  For senior leadership, the Champions turn to their swingman Shawn Luckey.  As of now, the Champions are 26th in the power rankings.

    It's been a different story for George Wray's South Mountain Jaguars in this, the school's 50th year of existence.  After losing their entire starting five, and top two reserves, the Jaguars have struggled with the rebuilding process compiling a 3-13 record, and have a power ranking of 42.  Wray has inherited a team that went 14-6 as JV kids, so the future looks bright for this team.

    This rivalry will hit its peak tonight as these two teams square off at Chavez.  In the most recent meeting, the Jaguars prevailed 68-63, led by Derrick Cheatham, Alex Campbell, Jacob Frietz, and Markel Darby.  But Cheatham is doubtful to play because of an injured ankle.

    Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m.



-Zach Rosenthal

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