Sunnyslope Defeats Agua Fria On The Road

by Justin Vargas | Posted on Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

The defending State Champion, Sunnyslope Vikings (6-1) would travel to Agua Fria (1-1) to take on Head Coach Ramon Marks' scrappy, athletic Owls.  Sunnyslope head coach Ray Portela had his team looking in championship form going into Tuesday’s road match-up.

Both teams came out moving the ball extremely well and disciplined, however both teams also seemed to be allergic to making shots early on as well.  The defending champs would finally get a little offense going as their 6-foot-3 junior wing Ivan Palomar would take a nice jab step and drive right down the gut of the defense to give the Vikings a 6-point lead with 3 minutes to go in the first quarter.

Agua Fria seemed determined to shoot themselves in the foot by committing careless turnovers - stopping themselves from getting out and using their speed and athleticism to turn this contest into the track meet they would need it to be.  The Owls’ sharp-shooting 6-foot-2 senior guard Daniel Foster would knock down a 3-pointer at the buzzer to bring his team to within 1.

Agua Fria’s shooting struggles continued in the 2nd quarter, however Sunnyslope would allow them to stay in it by missing (5) consecutive layups to open the period.  The Vikings' 6-foot-6 senior post Chris Orozco claimed his territory in the paint early, however his inability to finish bunny lay-ups down low was making the claim almost void.

Agua Fria’s 5-foot-11 senior guard Duron McNeal would hit a running jump shot in the lane to bring the Owls to within 3 points with 2 minutes left in the half.  To be noted, Slope’s 6-foot-5 senior forward Kyle Fischer owned the boards in the first half on both ends of the floor.

While the half would end in a very low scoring affair, with the Vikings up 15-12, it was not for lack of pace, but rather missed scoring opportunities and sloppy turnovers.

Sunnyslope’s 5-foot-11 senior guard Allan Abayev would knock down a trey to open up the second half, his second 3-ball of the game.  Foster would answer with one of his own from deep to try and get his Owls going as well.

With 3:30 to go in the 3rd quarter, Slope’s senior guard Andrew Greb would knock down a deep ball of his own to give his team a 26-17 lead.  Sunnyslope’s zone defense flat out ate up Agua Fria’s offense all game, but especially in the later minutes of the 3rd quarter, as close to three quarters of Agua Fria’s possessions would lead to turnovers.

The Owls’ 6-foot-1 sophomore guard McArthur Osborne would get an acrobatic block that would lead to yet another Foster 3-pointer to bring them to within 10 with less than 2 minutes left.  However, Sunnyslope would get a put-back lay-up by Fischer to give them a 16-point advantage to end the 3rd quarter.

The Owls would open up the 3rd quarter with yet another turnover party - committing 3-straight at a critical time.  Foster would do all he could to keep them in it, but had limited offensive help.

Sunnyslope’s 6-foot-1 senior guard Bryson MeWhinney began to penetrate Agua Fria’s defense at will in the 4th quarter, as Agua Fria did not seem to have an answer for the springy guard.  While a nice 2-hand athletic slam by Agua Fria’s 6-foot-5 ultra-athletic forward Davion Washington would bring the home crowd out of their seats, that was about the only thing they had to cheer for in this contest, as Sunnyslope would cruise to a 61-40 win, despite a 26-point effort by Foster.

MeWhinney would lead all Vikings with 13 points, as Greb and Fischer would both finish with 11, respectively.

Recruiting Notes:  While the game was lopsided, it should be mentioned that Agua Fria’s Daniel Foster’s shot is legit.  If he can get some help from an upperclassmen laden team, he can be a factor this season.  He is a southpaw with the ability to get hot at any time and create his own shot.  Though he will not wow you with athleticism, he is tough as nails and has some dog in him.  However, he will need to learn how to put the ball in his right hand, if he wants to sniff any success moving forward at any level.

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