afireinside breaks down the 4A final four coming up this Thursday. Glendale, Apollo, Slope and Santa Rita have a date at the Glendale Arena for the 4A State Championship...
Who: Sonoran Region #1 Tucson Santa Rita versus
Skyline Region #1 Sunnyslope When: Thursday, February 24th 5PM
After pulling off the upset of the
tournament with a 66-63 win at Page High
School, the Sunnyslope Vikings have their eyes set
on reaching the 4A tournament final.
After an inconsistent regular season that saw more losing streaks than
winning ones, Dan Mannix guided his team to the Skyline Region crown. Mannix and the Vikings haven't looked
back from there – eliminating Vail Cienega 66-65 in double overtime and beating
#1 Page last Saturday. In the
tournament, Sunnyslope has been led by 6-0 senior Walker Donaldson (18 tourney
ppg) and 5-9 junior TJ Campbell (25 ppg), but some might say the real leader is
the spirit of Joshua Conard. Joshua
Lee Conard, 17, twin brother to Sunnyslope's Jordan Conard, was tragically
killed in a drunk driving accident in June of 2004. His memory is very much alive and well
within the basketball team and the community. Jordan, who was seriously injured in the
accident, wears his brother's jersey, number forty-four, in his honor. Santa Rita arrived in the final four via
a much easier route. The Eagles
Bradshaw Mountain 65-55, and then beat Cave Creek
Cactus Shadows 63-54 last Saturday.
The Eagles are led by Devin Stewart, Alex Walker, and Kyle Carney.
Who: Desert Sky Region #1 Glendale Apollo versus Skyline Region #2 Glendale
When: Thursday, February
24th 8:30 PM
Another surprise team has emerged
from the Skyline Region to enter the 4A final four. Glendale High
School, like their Skyline Region comrades from
Sunnyslope, has had an impressive run to the final four. It started with a 63-52 win over favored
Tucson Rincon, and then continued with a 68-66 victory against Avondale Agua
Fria; the train continued to gain steam with a 63-58 overtime nail-bitter
against Flagstaff Coconino. Junior
DJ Nicholas led the team during the first two contests, but it was William Nosie
who stepped up against Coconino.
Nosie contributed 24 points and hit three clutch free-throws in
overtime. Apollo, the heavy
favorite now that Page has been eliminated, has basically walked into the final
four. Apollo finds themselves
sitting pretty after a 74-59 trouncing of Nogales, and then the Hawks built a 20-point
lead on their way to beating Scottsdale Coronado 66-54 in the
quarterfinals. Led by junior
Tristan Wilson and senior Monti Washington, the Hawks present a tough match-up
for any team. Their sheer
athleticism, combined with smart basketball, will play a central role in their
quest to lift the golden ball.