The state of Arizona has taken notice to the accomplishments of Page high school. A 19-3 record has bestowed upon the Sand Devils and Coach Aaron Anderson state-wide recognition and a #1 spot in the Arizona Republic 4A rankings (#2 PrepAZ).
But does Page have the drive and experience to hoist the 4A State Championship plaque?
The Sand Devils have proved they belong as one of the top five teams in 4A basketball. With victories over the likes of Nogales (59-37, #10 AZ Rep), Scottsdale Coronado (60-53, #7), and Cactus Shadows - Page has solidified a spot in the rankings.
However, the lack of real competition in the Grand Canyon region, a loss to Apollo (67-55, #6), and possibly a tough first couple of games in the state tournament does not bode well for the Sand Devils.
Page's opponents in the GCR have compiled an overall record of 47-66, and the Sand Devils (10-0 GCR) have outscored region opponents 57-32.4 points per game (+24.6 average region margin of victory). The strength of schedule can become a major factor in any team's bid for a state championship. Coming from a weak region could bear out in a bad manner for Page.
Also, Page will not have a very easy road to the final four and the championship either.
Page, being the #1 team coming out of the GCR, will have to play their first game (barring an upset) against - the #2 team from the Desert Sky region. That means facing Apollo or Greenway. Both teams will pose a huge obstacle for Page in their first game. If Page wins their first game, they would most likely be matched up with the #1 Skyline team, possibly Glendale high school. The Cinderella of the Skyline - Glendale has been gelling lately and they have a formidable post in the throw-back style of 6-5 junior DJ Nicholas.
Page belongs with the top teams in 4A, but their strength and experience are fairly suspect. However, when it comes to the tournament, anything can happen. The pressure is magnified for the top teams to perform to their ranking; everyone is out to beat them.
Does Page have what it takes?
We won't know until the Sand Devils are put to the test in the state tournament.