Desert Vista was as good as Danny Powell allowed the Thunder to be.
When the senior forward forced things, didn’t show confidence in his teammates and forced up shots Desert Vista didn’t fare well against the top teams, but when he stayed within the parameters of the system and worked with his teammates the Thunder were a different team.
It was clear down the stretch of the 2011-12 season that Powell came to understand the difference and Desert Vista took off - all the way to the Division I state semifinals before losing to eventual champion Corona del Sol in the final seconds.
“Danny Powell is playing basketball liked we asked him to do all year,” Thunder coach Dave Williams said after the state quarterfinal win over Gilbert.“He stopped trying to be the whole show. We know you are the best player in the state, but we had to get everybody to play together.”
Powell, who was named first-team All-Tribune, averaged 19.9 points and 9.4 rebounds in helping the Thunder to a 22-9 season.
“Every coach and player has their differences and arguments at times, but you work through it and work hard,” said Powell, who will play at Eastern Washington next year. “It is how you become a championship team and a championship player.”
The other area players to be honored were Desert Vista guard Jeff Lowery, who averaged 11.1 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists before heading off to Grand Canyon University next season, and Mountain Pointe junior guard Khari Holloway, who averaged 18.2 points, 4.8 assists and 3.9 rebounds as the Pride made the Division I second round and won 15 games.
Both were named honorable mention.
• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.