Teams fine-tuning for postseason push - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Sports

Teams fine-tuning for postseason push

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Posted: Sunday, January 30, 2011 8:00 am | Updated: 10:52 pm, Fri Jan 31, 2014.

February Frenzy is just about here.

The second month of the year is one of the busiest on the high school sports calendar in Arizona as all of the winter sports enter postseason action and the spring sports start having their initial meetings and tryouts.

So it's a good time to check in with all of the winter sports to see where local teams stand with just a handful of games or weeks depending on the sport left in the season.

Soccer is up first with the regular season ending Thursday, Jan. 27, and the postseason getting started as early as Tuesday for 5A Division I girls and Wednesday for 5A-I boys.

In the boys action, Mountain Pointe was on the edge of the 16-team, 5A-I field to begin the week as the Pride was 16th in the power rankings. A 5-1 win over Marcos de Niza on Tuesday, pushed Mountain Pointe to 13th heading into last night's home match against Casa Grande.

No matter how it plays out, the Pride is going to have a tough first-round matchup at a neutral site.

"I don't feel comfortable at all with where we are at," Pride coach Bryan Sabato said. "It seems that this year more than ever there are a lot of uncertainties with the power-point system. The best-case scenario for us would be to finish somewhere between 13 and 16. Unfortunately, that puts us into a matchup with a team like Brophy, Hamilton, San Luis or Salpointe. None of which would be ideal match ups for us."

Desert Vista had a more secure position, ninth in 5A-I, heading into Thursday's match at home against No. 5 Hamilton. The Thunder made a jump in the rankings after knocking off previously unbeaten No. 3 Brophy last week in a 3-1 win.

The DV win over the Broncos showed all it takes is one good 40-minute effort to pull off an unexpected win.

"I think that the top four teams would have to be Brophy, Hamilton, San Luis and Salpointe," Sabato said. "There are some darkhorse teams out there like Gilbert, Yuma Kofa, Desert Vista and Mesquite. I think, like DV proved last week, any of the top teams can lose on any given night."

Horizon Honors is in a more precarious position as the Eagles sat 17th in the Class 1A/2A/3A rankings heading into Wednesday's match against Tempe Prep, ranked 27th. A win may not secure a postseason spot, but it's clear a victory is needed if Horizon is going to make the postseason for the first time.

The girls side is a little clearer, as both 5A-I schools appear to be in line for seeding in the top eight.

Desert Vista began the week fifth in the power rankings and then beat Red Mountain 1-0 Tuesday to move to No. 4 before facing Hamilton on Thursday.

"We have played well most of January and have been able to put the ball in the back of the net better," Thunder coach Paul Manoogian said. "Fourth-seed is about where we belong. I don't know if (fifth-ranked) Highland can catch us if they win and we lose. We are in a good spot either way."

Mountain Pointe was seventh entering Thursday's away match against No. 31 Casa Grande.

Horizon Honors might not have to play the waiting game after Thursday's match against Gilbert Classical. The Eagles are 15th after beating Valley Christian for the second time this season on Tuesday, but they have a three-point lead over the 16th and 17th teams.

The basketball scenarios have too many variables with at least five games left for each team before the postseason picture clears.

On the girls side, Mountain Pointe is on its way to a second straight East Valley Region title as the Pride has won 19 straight in region action. It has put them in the eighth spot heading into tonight's non-region game against Peoria Centennial.

Desert Vista will most likely be in as well but will have to be on the road in the first round. The Thunder entered the week 11th in 5A-I with games against Red Mountain and Hamilton.

Horizon Honors, like its soccer counterparts, is on the edge, entering Wednesday as the No. 16 in the Class 2A rankings. The remaining schedule includes three teams with losing records among the Eagles five opponents.

"I imagine that our seed will be somewhere between 10 and 18, depending on how we do the remainder of the season," Eagles coach Nate Agostini said.

The boys teans should be interesting as the final three weeks play out.

Desert Vista has been in the top 10 all season so the Thunder can make postseason plans as they entered the week sixth in 5A-I. Their strength of schedule in the Fiesta Region, regardless of how they finish, will garner them enough points to mostly likely host a first-round game.

Mountain Pointe is also assured of a postseason slot but considering the Pride is at No. 10 entering Friday's non-region game against Centennial a strong finish might garner a top eight seed and a home game.

"If you look at the separation (in power points) the teams in eighth through 11 have a pretty good advantage over 12 through 17," Mountain Pointe coach Brian Fleming said. "So unless a few of those teams go undefeated the rest of the way there probably won't be much movement."

The Pride is leading the East Valley Region and are 14-6 overall. They have been playing well in recent weeks and are rounding into shape for what could be a wide-open state title chase.

"The teams we thought were going to be there are," Fleming said. "But I don't think there is a clear cut favorite. (Mesa) Mountain View has the pieces that make sense, but they lost (Tuesday) to a young Corona (del Sol) team playing without their best player. (Sierra Vista) Buena hasn't lost a power point game and seems to be the best team out of Tucson, but if a team gets hot it could be anyone."

Horizon Honors is again in limbo as the Eagles are 16th in Class 2A with four games left.

The wrestling regular season ends this week with Desert Vista in line to win the tough Fiesta Region, while Mountain Pointe will finish middle of the pack in the East Valley Region.

Then next Friday and Saturday both squads will compete in the Division I, Section I state-qualifying tournament at Desert Vista. The top five wrestlers in each weight class advance to the state tournament, which is next weekend in Prescott Valley.

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