The Desert Vista girls have had a super season, but now it is time for the Super Sectionals.
The Thunder carved out a little piece of history – the best regular season record in school history at 25-1 – and that’s nice all unless of course it is the high point of the campaign.
“That right there’s a huge accomplishment for us but we’re not celebrating until we get to our goal of winning the state championship,” Thunder senior guard Emily Wolph said. “We’re taking it game by game going into sectionals hoping to get that number up one spot.”
Desert Vista enters the Super Sectionals ranked No. 2 in the power rankings behind Dobson.
This week’s action starts the mark of the postseason as the top four teams in each of the four sections will play this week in two Super Sectionals as Section I and III play each other and the Section II and IV have a separate eight-team tournament.
The Thunder, the top seed from Section II, play Tolleson, the fourth seed from Section IV, on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Desert Ridge with the semifinals on Thursday at Desert Ridge and the finals on Saturday. Mountain Pointe, the second seed from Section II, takes on Fairfax, the third seed from Section IV, on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Camelback with the semis on Thursday at Camelback and finals on Saturday.
Power points will continue to be processed throughout the Super Sectionals with the two sectional champions earning the top two seeds. The sectional runner-ups with be guaranteed the No. 3 and 4 seeds.
All other teams, for a total of 24, will qualify to the state tournament based on overall ranking and be seeded No. 5 through 24.
Entering Tuesday’s action Mountain Pointe is the eight overall seed, which earn the Pride a first-round bye. It’s hard to tell where they’ll end up if they go 0-1 or 1-1 in the sectional.
“I spend way too much time trying to speculate on what we need to do,” Pride coach Trevor Neider said. “As long as we finish in the top eight we can earn the first-round bye, a home game and get a chance to scout (their second-round opponent).”
The Pride (18-8) have been playing well ever since knocking off Mesquite, which is ranked No. 3 but has defeated both No. 1 Dobson and No. 2 Desert Vista, on Jan. 29. Mountain Pointe has won five of six games to take some momentum into the Super Sectionals.
“Ever since that Mesquite game we have played pretty well,” Neider said. “We lost to Highland but they put on a clinic and had a great night shooting. We are headed in the right direction.”
The Desert Vista boys have to wait a little longer to get back on the court after failing to qualify for the Super Sectional.
The Thunder (16-11) have been playing well down the stretch, leading nationally-ranked Corona del Sol by double digits in the fourth quarter before losing, but won’t play again until the first-round of the Division I state tournament, which doesn’t get underway until Feb. 20.
It adds up to a layoff of 13 days.
“I think it is a bad thing for us because we were in a groove,” Thunder coach Dave Williams said. “We will try to simulate games and situations but the intensity isn’t the same. We still just make sure we stay on top of them when it comes to accountability and focus.”
The Thunder, as of the Super Sectionals, were ranked 15th and in line for a first-round home game in the 24-team field. The team is 8-7 since Christmas but have shown they will be competitive against the state’s top teams
“They’ve matured,” Williams said. “We’ve lost some leads, but we also lead every game. I have no negativity in my heart for these kids. I know we can play with anyone and that’s what this time of the season is about.”
• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.