On Saturday February 19th I attended the 3A Sweet-16 game of Thatcher at Gilbert Christian in Gilbert, AZ and the 5A Elite-8 match-up with Millennium at McClintock in Tempe, AZ. Some quick notes: Thatcher started the game ridiculously fast…
On Saturday February 19th I attended the 3A Sweet-16 game of Thatcher at Gilbert Christian in Gilbert, AZ and the 5A Elite-8 match-up with Millennium at McClintock in Tempe, AZ.
Some quick notes:
Thatcher started the game ridiculously fast with a 16-3 start. Bradley Curtis Bradley Curtis 6'6" | PF Thatcher | 2023 State AZ was all over the place. It was 37-23 at halftime and Coach Keener switched to a match-up zone which worked in the 3rd quarter to cut into the Thatcher lead of 44-43. Max Lightfoot Max Lightfoot 6'5" | PF Gilbert Christian | 2023 State AZ had a big 3rd qtr. It was all Thatcher and Curtis in the 4th as they poured in 22 points to give them the 66-58 win to advance to the Elite-8.
(Gilbert Christian and Thatcher best prospects all return next year and look for both teams to make a playoff run again.) Thatcher lost a close game to #1 seed Valley Christian 59-53.
I then drove over to McClintock and arrived right at the start of the game. The game seesawed back and forth the entire game. Tock had a 28-23 lead at halftime but Millennium clawed back in and was only down 1 to start the 4th qtr at 45-44. Volz, Wesley and DB were the catalysts of the qtr. Pickens was the man for Millennium. Scroggins hit a clutch runner with 2 mins to play to give Tock a 58-55 lead and after two FT’s, Pickens found Holly for a 3 to cut the gap at 60-58 under a minute. Volz, Wesley and DB all made clutch FT’s down the stretch to hold on to win it 64-61.
Both teams were definitely legit 5A contenders and the young Millennium team will be back next year as one of the early favorites with all their talented youth. Tock on the other hand is looking to win it this year, but have to get passed the well coached and tough Gilbert Tigers.
Here were some of the standouts of the four playoff teams:
Grant Woods Grant Woods 6'6" | PF Valley Christian | 2024 State AZ Gilbert Christian
A face-up forward can shoot it comfortably from the 3pt line and score it inside as well. He is a good rebounder in his area and plays hard throughout a game. He is one of the two sophs who can keep the Knights in the playoffs next year.
Max Lightfoot Max Lightfoot 6'5" | PF Gilbert Christian | 2023 State AZ Gilbert Christian
A high motored forward scores it inside efficiently around the cup. He can score a little with his back to the basket plus loves ripping through to score in traffic through contact. He gets himself to the line often and lays his body on the court. He can hit from the high post and has a hook shot to utilize. He is a little undersized but his motor translates. He finished with a team high 21 points and 7 rebounds.
Keon Talgo Keon Talgo 6'3" | SF Gilbert Christian | 2024 State AZ Gilbert Christian
My first time viewing Talgo and came away impressed. He can score it from inside and out. He posts up often using his thicker frame and plus strength. He tries touching the paint and going to work and is good on the glass for his size rebounding at a good clip. He can hit the 3 moving or off the catch. He finished with 20 points.
Bradley Curtis Bradley Curtis 6'6" | PF Thatcher | 2023 State AZ Thatcher
A talented forward scores it many ways. He can drop step, he has a quick spin move and he can crossover his man and score in traffic. He has soft hands and a good touch around the rim. He is a quick leaper to score or grab a rebound with a fast second jump. His motor allows him to rebound at a good rate and keeps the ball high. He’s not afraid to take contact despite his thinner frame. He also showed the ability to block shots in area using his bounce and timing. He has a nice FT touch and shows upside. He finished with an impressive 31 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks.
Brandon Napier Brandon Napier 6'1" | PG Thatcher | 2023 State AZ Thatcher
A strong downhill lead guard is steadily improving his shooting. He has a nice first step to get to the basket and score among the bigs using his strong upper body strength. His 3pt shooting is making him a more coveted player and more difficult to defend. He is tough on the ball defensively and he makes good reads to teammates for dimes. He finished with 15 points and multiple assists.
Gabe Pickens Gabe Pickens 6'0" | PG Dream City Christian | 2024 State AZ Millennium
A strong pure PG has a tight handle and strength to get to the rim. He is a stud off the pick and roll and seems to find any teammate at will. He touches the paint and then slices up the defense. He has an array of moves getting to the rim and his 3-ball is improving and comes with range and a quick trigger. He finished with a game high 23 points and 5+ assists.
Isaac Hymes Isaac Hymes 6'9" | PF Phhoenix Prep | 2023 State AZ Millennium
Hymes played well in his quick stint. He unfortunately separated his shoulder and quickly popped it back in but there was too much risk to go back in. When he was on the court, he hit a couple 3’s and ripped through and scored it in the lane. He rebounds well in his area and blocks shots near him. He should have a big senior year.
Reginald Mickens-Orr Reginald Mickens-Orr 6'3" | SG Millennium | 2022 State AZ Millennium
An athletic scoring guard is lean and quick. He can hit the 3 and get to the rim. He is a plus rebounder for a guard and brings a lot of energy. He has been steady all year for them and he finished with 15 points.
Kingston Tosi Kingston Tosi 6'6" | SF Millennium | 2025 State AZ Millennium
A good looking freshman forward is a plus rebounder and will block shots in and out of his area. He can pull-up off the dribble and hit from mid-range. He isn’t asked to score too much on this team but does many little things to help the Tigers.
JT Amundsen JT Amundsen 5'8" | CG Millennium | 2025 State AZ Millennium
The specialist of the team is clearly JT. He has a clip from deep and caught fire. He hit three deep ones and got fouled on one for the rare 4-point play. He is a smart player and will rarely make a mistake.
Christian Holly Christian Holly 6'1" | SG Phhoenix Prep | 2025 State AZ Millennium
He didn’t get heavy minutes but made a few important plays. He showed he can get downhill with a quick first step and speed. He also hit a huge catch-3 to keep the Tigers in striking distance and plays at a fast pace.
Jaylen Wesley Jaylen Wesley 6'4" | PF McClintock | 2022 State AZ McClintock
A ridiculously strong forward can over power his defenders and has very good body control in the lane. He rebounds at a high level in traffic with his long arms. He can take a ball off the rim and go coast to coast. He scored 14 points with almost 10 rebounds.
Pascal Volz Pascal Volz 6'1" | CG McClintock | 2022 State AZ McClintock
Arguably the most improved senior in the state proved it in their big win. He has become extremely strong over the last year and has improved on both ends of the floor. He can get downhill and score through contact or flush it down with his build and athleticism. His on-ball defense has vastly improved with steals and blocks. He can fall away off the dribble from his defender and make contested shots plus hit the 3. He scored 19 points.
Erenzo Scroggins Erenzo Scroggins 6'4" | SF AZ Compass Prep Black | 2023 State AZ McClintock
An athletic forward played the role of distributor in this affair. He is a two-way defender and collected steals, rebounds the ball and made 5+ assists. He loves getting to the rim off the dribble and is a stud transition highlight player.
Davion Butler Davion Butler 5'10" | PG AZ Compass Prep | 2023 State AZ McClintock
He was questionable coming into the game nursing an injury, but came in off the bench and simply made plays. He scored 13 points to go along with a few assists. He thinks and plays fast. He has the floater game, he can pull-up from mid-range, hit the catch-3 and made clutch FTs in the closing seconds. He also had important steals playing tough on-ball defense.