It’s no secret Corona del Sol is the benchmark for Arizona’s elite prep basketball. The Aztecs took home their fourth straight Division-I state title Monday night, defeating Desert Vista 57-32, thanks to outstanding play from their starting lineup that features young phenoms Marvin Bagley and Alex Barcello.
But the star Monday night was senior Dane Kuiper.
The University of New Mexico commit ended his high school career on a high note with 17 points, ten rebounds, and “the best defense” Kuiper has ever played.
“He was getting boards, he was running the floor. Dane was really good tonight,” Corona del Sol head basketball coach Sam Duane said.
Kuiper set the tone defensively, and the rest of the Aztecs followed suit. Marvin Bagley finished the night with five blocks, and Desert Vista only scored more than ten points in one quarter.
“We’ve been working all year on (defense), so just for us to come out and (defend) them like that, and get out in our fast break offense is just great,” Kuiper said. “This is one of the best games we have ever played as a team. We brought it all on a night that counted.”
The season’s best performance from the state’s top team meant a dominating performance to cap off a season of just that.
Moving forward, Corona will need to fill three starting spots next year, as Kuiper, Michigan State football commit Cassius Peat, and Isaiah Bolden are seniors. The seniors were major contributors on the court, but also provided guidance for the young Aztec stars.
“I learned leadership (from our seniors),” Barcello said. “We play team ball, and we don’t care who is scoring or who is getting a stop. We want to win.”
The 2014-15 Aztecs did exactly that, and in dominating fashion. With Bagley, Barcello and Tyrell Henderson on the roster next year, the expectations will remain high to make it a five-peat.
“We have to work that much harder; put in the extra work, the extra time, whether it’s individual or with the team in practice. We just have to go out there and give it our all,” Barcello said.