JTL's 1A preview!
JTL'S 1A TOP TEN
#1 Joseph City
Strengths- Head and shoulders above the rest of the 1a. Great depth, balance, and height. Solomon (5-11) may be the best PG in the 1a. He is lightning quick and deadly from the outside. Center Dustin Fish (6-6), forwards Brennan Fish (6-3), Wouters (6-3) and Walker (6-3) are not only tall, but premier 1a athletes. Joe City may not lose to a 1a opponent all year and would be a solid 5a club if they played at that level.
Weeknesses- Really none to speak of. They lost a stud in Hulsey, but return too much talent to miss him. Last year 6-6 Fish looked awkward at times, but his coordination looks terrific this year as QB on their #1 ranked football team.
Outlook- State Champs
#2 St David
Strengths- The premier athletic program in the 1a and defending state champ. Tremendous "all season" athletes. Bring back starting guards Fenn (6-0) and Lesueur (6-0). Tilden (6-0) also will figure in. Wood (6-3) is their best returning post. Last year's squad graduated only four players and they bring back nine players, including three starters.
Weeknesses- May have lost only four players, but two were their best players in Gill and Jacquez. Will be hard pressed to find an inside presence.
Outlook- Still very tough. Are another post away from playing with Joe City. Expect a smaller lineup this year, with more of the famous St David full-court defensive pressure.
#3 Fort Thomas
Strengths- Return ten players, including top scorer Dona (5-10) and post McEuen (6-2). The burly McEuen is key and could provide stability rarely seen in the Ft Thomas low post. Plenty of shooters and speed fill out the rest of the roster.
Weeknesses- No height. Same story every year at the Fort. Will have to force the tempo and play pressing defense to off set any missmatches on the post.
Outlook- Could win a dog fight for the 1a East crown. If they can find someone else to help out McEuen on the blocks, could play at AWA.
Strengths- Bring back four starters, and six seniors overall. Carbollo (6-2, at least 250 lbs), is surprisingly agile for his size and a premier 1a post. Little guard Iniguez (5-8) was their leading scorer and he also returns. Posts Martinez and Kelly both stand 6-3, and give Salome extra size inside.
Weeknesses- Have sometimes played down to the level of their opponents, losing to teams they should beat. Could be another outside scorer away.
Outlook- A team with definate possibilities. Will battle it out for the top spot in the 1a West and could easily make it to AWA.
#5 Life School
Strengths- Has some big time players back in PG Outlaw, low post Claugherty (6-4), and forward Penticost. Will be one of the most athletically gifted teams in the 1a, and can call on a 2a sized enrollment to fill out roster spots.
Weeknesses- I am not sold on their outside shooting. They need someone that can consistently knock down threes and provide another scoring threat. Also, although they have solid size inside, they seem to get beat on the boards fairly often.
Outlook- Have the talent to win the 1a West, has a strong shot at AWA.
Strengths- Want to hear something amazing? These guys return sixteen players from last year. Sixteen! Even more amazing is that only three will be seniors this year. Can you say state champs 04'? This years edition will be solid in all aspects and could maybe knock St David off the top of the south perch. John Sabochick (6-6) is an inside presence. Another Sabochick is on his way in 6-4 soph Robert. Masters (6-3) will be one of the 1a's best forwards, and Greenfields will suit up three more players that will stand between 6-2 and 6-4.
Weeknesses- Need some floor leadership and someone to step up. This is still a very young team and could be a year away from greatness.
Outlook- Could threaten for the 1a South title.
Strengths- Last years surprise team beat ASDB and Salome in the playoffs. Another team that could be a year away from greatness. Lost only two players from last years AWA edition. Will have only ONE senior, guard McCormick. Height isn't an issue either, as half the roster will stand 6-2 or taller.
Weeknesses- 04' title matchup with Greenfields? This years team will be solid, but doesn't have a leader and scorer to take them to the next level.
Outlook- A playoff team out of the awesome 1a North. Could once again make noise once they reach the dance.
Strengths- Have a huge 1a enrollment (190+). Plenty of height featuring a line that could stand 6-6, 6-5 and 6-3 across. PG Molinar may be the best in the 1a East.
Weeknesses- Loses go to guy in Hill. Needs someone to step up and take the scoring burden. Need the tall posts to produce.
Outlook- Could win the 1a East if everything goes right.
#9 St Michael
Strengths- As always, will be quick with great shooters. Lose a good portion of last years squad that lost in the title game. Names to remember are Yazzie and Begay.
Weeknesses- No height. Will depend soley one outside shooting, fastbreaking, and defense.
Outlook- Will be in a dogfight for one of two North playoff spots with Fredonia and Seligman.
#10 Phx Day School Deaf
Strengths- Some great young athletes in the Grisby brothers, Gray and Battle. May have their first post presense since Terry graduated a few years ago if Chapman (6-3) and Clifton (6-2) continue to develope.
Weeknesses- A team that has made the playoff the past few years, but always gets tossed in the first round. Nothing on paper indicates that will change this year, especially after losing their go to guy and region player of the year DaSilva.
Outlook- The West's third playoff spot, a first round loss in the playoffs.
OTHER TEAMS TO WATCH- Elfrida Valley Union, Seligman, East Fork Lutheran
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