Surprise teams making case for inclusion in 6A Final Four

1 month ago Jason P. Skoda 0

For most of the season the usual programs have claimed the top spots in the 6A Coaches Poll.

Chandler, Pinnacle, Perry and Mountain Pointe. The preseason outlook had the quartet as the favorites to make the 6A semifinals.

The Pride have slipped down but still remain in the top 10 despite a 3-4 record while the other three still take up three of the top four spots.

There are some surprise candidates for the fourth spot with three weeks remaining in the regular season.

Newcomers Queen Creek, now No. 3 in the Coaches Poll at 7-1, and Liberty have a combined 14-1 record, but are not the only teams playing above expectation.

Desert Vista and Basha always have talent but it hasn’t always equaled wins for various reasons in recent years. It has kept those programs in the second tier more often than not.

That’s what makes this season special for these two programs as both enter this week at 6-1.

One has its third coach in three years and the other has had the same coach for 17 years but one who has seen enough to know when he’s got a good thing going.

“I’ve had confidence in this team from the beginning,” Thunder coach Dan Hinds said on the AIA Wrap Up Show. “Seven games into the season and they are playing great, and I believe in them more than ever.”

Basha coach Chris McDonald had to change things in a hurry and has done enough to bring the Bears into contention.

“You have to establish a new culture here. That’s why they brought me in,” McDonald told the East Valley Tribune. “You want kids to play for each other and understand being a better citizen and a better student. That’s what we are trying to establish here and we are not quite there yet but we are getting there.”

This week’s set of games will go along way in telling us how close some of the candidates for the fourth spot are to being the one.

While Highland and Queen Creek on are on byes, No. 8 Basha travels to No. 1 Chandler and No. 7 Liberty heads to north Phoenix faces No. 2 Pinnacle.

Desert Vista hosts up-and-down Boulder Creek, but the real test is how the Thunder performs a week after knocking off rival Mountain Pointe. Any let up and all the work Desert Vista has done to this point will be lost.

It will be a telling week of action with the results affecting change in the Coaches Poll.

Until then here is this week’s poll:

6A Coaches Poll (10 coaches participating)

      Team  (record)                    LW            Points (1st place votes)

  1. Chandler (6-1)                        1                              99 (9)
  2. Pinnacle (6-1)                         2                              88 (1)
  3. Queen Creek (7-1)                 4                               70
  4. Perry (5-2)                              3                               67
  5. Highland (7-1)                        7                               52
  6. Desert Vista (6-1)                   8                              49
  7. Liberty (7-0)                            6                              41
  8. Basha (6-1)                            9                              32
  9. Mountain Pointe (3-4)             5                              31
  10. Red Mountain (6-2)               —                              12

Dropped out: Brophy (10th)

Other(s) receiving votes: Brophy 1