Corona del Sol boys basketball beats Westview, advances to semifinals


Photo by Kris Urban

Senior guard Alex Barcello goes in for a layup in a quarterfinal matchup against Westview. The Aztecs beat the Knights, 73-57, and move on to face Cesar Chavez in the semifinals.

Written by Jake Pyatt and Graham Eversden, Sports Editor and Sports Writer

The Aztecs were able to take down No. 8 seed Westview, 73-57, in a quarterfinal matchup.

The quarterfinal are where the Aztecs had an early exit in last seasons playoffs, but the team was able to get past that obstacle this season.

“We were telling the seniors ‘this is your last game on this court, make sure it’s not your last game,’” Head Coach Neil MacDonald said.

The biggest factor in the game was foul trouble for the Aztec’s two big men. Senior Shelan Yarde fouled out with 3:30 left in the third quarter and senior Josh Onwordi played well with four fouls, eventually fouling out with 2 minutes left in the game.

“We had to play guys out of position,” MacDonald said. “We just had to grind it out. We had to switch defenses a few times, which we do not like to do. We counted on guys to step up and they did.”

Though fouls were a problem for the Aztecs, the Knights went an abysmal six of 20 from the free throw line, compared to the Aztecs 23 of 30.

“We have averaged around 80 percent shooting free throws all year,” MacDonald said. “The past two or so games we have been around 60 percent, so that has been a concern. At the end of the day we are a good free-throw shooting team. Today we did have players step up and make their shots. That was key.”

In his final game in Sammy Duane Gymnasium, the leading scorer Alex Barcello kissed the center court logo as time expired.

“I am speechless,” Barcello said. “I started with a win on this court and now I ended with a win on this court. I am very happy.”

Barcello ended with 29 points followed by Saben Lee with 23.

“We wanted to take it to the rim and not settle for jump shots,” Barcello said. “We were able to get to the free throw line and get some easy layups.”

The team now will face off against Cesar Chavez in the semifinals on Thursday, Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m at Gila River Arena. The two squads faced off in early December with the Aztecs escaping with a 1-point victory.

“We are excited,” MacDonald said. “It will be fun. It should be a blast.”