WEST VALLEY PREPS

West Valley Preps' Peoria boys basketball preview

Posted 1/4/21

The high school boys basketball season has been delayed until at least Jan. 18 by the rising number of COVID-19 cases. Here’s what local coaches have to say about their teams:

To Our Valued Readers –

Visitors to our website will be limited to five stories per month unless they opt to subscribe.

For $5.99, less than 20 cents a day, subscribers will receive unlimited access to the website, including access to our Daily Independent e-edition, which features Arizona-specific journalism and items you can’t find in our community print products, such as weather reports, comics, crossword puzzles, advice columns and so much more six days a week.

Our commitment to balanced, fair reporting and local coverage provides insight and perspective not found anywhere else.

Your financial commitment will help to preserve the kind of honest journalism produced by our reporters and editors. We trust you agree that independent journalism is an essential component of our democracy. Please click here to subscribe.

Sincerely,
Charlene Bisson, Publisher, Independent Newsmedia

Please log in to continue

Log in
I am anchor

WEST VALLEY PREPS

West Valley Preps' Peoria boys basketball preview

Posted

The high school boys basketball season has been delayed until at least Jan. 18 by the rising number of COVID-19 cases. Here’s what local coaches have to say about their teams:

CENTENNIAL COYOTES

5A Northwest Region
2019-20 Record: 18-11 overall, 4-6 region (Reached 5A first round)
Coach: Randy Lavender (fourth year as Centennial coach)
Top Returnees: Jake Lifgren, Jr. 6-2 F (13.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg); Trenten Lavender, Jr. 6-0 G (15.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg 3.2 apg)
How many years have you coached boys basketball? Have coached high school basketball for six years and coached at the college level for two.
What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Our team best attribute will be that we now have more experience and the guys have been playing together for a while. They pretty much have more of a understanding of the game.
What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? We will need some of the newcomers to be able to gel with the players that have the experience. We will also need all the players playing at the same speed and pace.
Who are your team leaders? Our team leaders are Jake Lifgren, Trenten Lavender and Abe Rangel. This will be their third year on varsity.
Who are newcomers to the varsity squad who could make an impact? The new players that can make an impact are sophomore Cristian Dupue and freshman Gage Galbraith. Expecting a lot of progress from these young players.
What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season or reach the goals it has set? Our goal this year is for the kids to have fun and have a winning season of course. We need to stay healthy and make sure everyone sees the big picture of winning it all. We expect to be one of the top teams in the state this year.

GLENDALE PREP GRIFFINS

2A Central Region
2019-20 Record: 18-8 overall, 11-1 region (Reached 2A first round)
Coach: Carlon Brown (first year as Glendale Prep coach)
How many years have you coached boys basketball? Coached last season as a graduate assistant at GCU under Dan Marjerle.
What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Shooting and running the court.
What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? Defensive rebounding and ball control.
Who are your team leaders? Johnny Krause (Sr.), Gavin Aikins (Sr.), Ryan Anderson (Sr.), Nicholas Nally (Soph)
Who are newcomers to the varsity squad who could make an impact? Cole Christensen, Jason Cullum, Chase Fredrickson
Note: Brown was recently hired as inerim varsity basketball coach. Former coach Steve Silvernail retired early in December due to COVID-19 concerns.

Liberty junior guard Miles Guliford dribbles upcourt during the Lions' Feb. 14, 2020 6A basketball play-in game in Peoria. [Christine Andert/For West Valley Preps]

LIBERTY LIONS

6A Desert Valley Region
2019-20 Record: 15-11 overall, 7-3 region
Coach: Mark Wood (15th year as head coach)
Top Returnees: Miles Guliford, Sr., 6-1 PG (14.9 ppg, 3.4 apg), Patrick Steitz, Sr. 6-7 F (11 ppg, 6.8 rpg)
How many years have you coached boys basketball? I have been a varsity head coach for 19 years – four years at Cactus from 2000-2004 and I opened Liberty in 2006.
What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? We return almost everybody from a very good team last year. We have 9 seniors on our roster. They are a tough group, high in character, and have great chemistry.
What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? We’ve added a couple coaches to our staff. Lance Gentry will be helping us in rebounding, and Jerry Conner will serve as the offensive coordinator. We will be faster on the offensive end.
Who are your team leaders? While all of our players are leaders, our seniors are a special group who have a shared mission and the discipline and desire to make that happen.
Who are newcomers to the varsity squad who could make an impact? We add EJ Pyers from California who is a junior and started for his varsity team as a freshman and sophomore. We add Jared Cunningham as a senior. And, we add Caden Hunter and Davis Hester, both sophomores.
What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season or reach the goals it has set? This year is unique. First of all, we need to stay healthy. With quarantining going on and the virus itself, just being able to suit up our full roster is important. Secondly, we need to stay focused. I believe these are the two big components.

PEORIA PANTHERS

4A West Valley Region
2019-20 Record: 26-4 overall, 8-0 region (4A runners up)
Coach: Patrick Battillo (First full year as coach, interim coach last year)
Top Returnees: Andrew Camacho, Soph., 5-11 G (14.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 2.5 apg), Corey Perry, Sr., 5-8 G (8.1 ppg, 1.5 spg)
How many years have you coached boys basketball? This is my 18th overall season (city and club). Fifth season on the Peoria staff (high school). Last year interim head coach. This year first full season as head coach.
What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Our ability to face adversity together.
What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? Improve our overall knowledge with one another on the court.
Who are your team leaders? Corey Perry, Andrew Camacho, and Nate Bandin
Who are newcomers to the varsity squad who could make an impact? Demarion Anderson and Calvin Windley
What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season or reach the goals it has set? We need to continue trusting the coaching, trusting one another, holding each other accountable, being a true brotherhood, and keep God first in all things.

SUNRISE MOUNTAIN MUSTANGS

5A Northwest Region
2019-20 Record: 18-9 overall, 5-5 region (Reached 5A first round)
Coach: Gary Rath (sixth year as Sunrise Mountain coach)
Top Returnees: Colin Carey, Sr. 6-6 F (17.1 ppg, 7 rpg); Rafe Canale, Jr. 5-11 G (6 ppg, 2.1 rpg 1.7 apg)
How many years have you coached basketball? 30 years
What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Our depth and experience.
What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? Creating more turnovers on the defensive end and replacing two of our three leading scorers from last season
Who are your team leaders? Colin Carey, Craig Stutesman, Chris Welsh and Chase Pavey.
Who are newcomers to the varsity squad who could make an impact? We have several new guys competing each day in practice to try and earn playing time.
What needs to happen for your squad to reach the state tournament this season or reach the goals it has set? We need to play unselfish and share the ball, improve our defense, improve our free throw shooting and find a way to make it through our extremely tough schedule with enough wins to compete for the region championship and a state tournament berth.

Comments