While Mountain Pointe and Desert Vista boys basketball meet for the first time this year on Friday, it is the second meeting that is even more intriguing.
It will be the Pride’s second to last game – they play at Gilbert to close out the regular season - so getting a win might make or break qualifying for the sectional tournament when it comes to power rankings, while the Thunder are playing their final game.
Less important, but possibly more lasting memory-wise, is the fact the game is being played at the US Airways Center, the home of the Suns, on Jan. 31.
“Some people wonder if we should be giving up a home game but I like it,” Pride coach Aaron Windler said. “I’ve coached at Wells Fargo Arena and Jobing.com and it is something the kids take away for the rest of their lives.”
The Pride is currently on the outside of the of the eight-team Division I, Section III tournament as they were No. 11 heading (No. 28 overall for the 24-team state tournament) into the week.
So clearly wins are vital for Mountain Pointe and the last game of the year will come on an unfamiliar floor instead of their home court.
It’s a gamble, but one that should be worth it in the overall picture.
“We don’t shoot it particularly well from the outside,” Windler said. “We’ll see how it goes. I think it will be worth it.”
The Suns have long encouraged that high school teams play at the arena. I assume this series got an extra push considering a member of the Desert Vista program has strong ties to the organization.
Jim Pitman, whose son, Kyle, is a senior starter for the Thunder, is the Executive Vice President, Finance and Administration for the Suns.
However it came about, all of the players – including the freshmen and JV teams – will remember getting the chance to play at one of the nation’s best basketball facilities.
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