Sunnyslope Wins Holiday Hoopsgiving Tournament

by Lucas Archuleta | Posted on Tuesday, November 19th, 2019

Friday evening at Sunnyslope High School was the championship game of the Holiday Hoopsgiving Tournament, which featured an exciting match-up between two conference 5A opponents, Sunnyslope (4-0) and Ironwood High School (3-1). Both teams have been playing really good basketball prior to this game, and were looking to keep that high level of play going in a big-time matchup. Both teams have a shot to make deep playoff runs, and the game definitely had a playoff feel to it.

To begin the game, both teams had big missing pieces who were out. For Sunnyslope, 6-foot-7 sophomore Elijah Saunders and 6-foot-8 junior Grady Lewis were both out this game. For Ironwood, 6-foot-2 senior guard Trent Hudgens was out for Moon Valley.

To start the game, both teams were battling back-and-forth, as each team took turns scoring in what was a fast paced, uptempo game. After the first quarter, Sunnyslope held a slight 14-13 lead, after they hit some free throws to end the quarter.

In the second quarter, Sunnyslope came out firing as 6-foot-10 junior Carson Basham (pictured) and 6-foot-4 senior Paul Hayden started to click. With 4 minutes to go in the period, Sunnyslope held a 30-16 lead. Ironwood continued to fight, as they were able to get the lead down to 32-25 with 1:15 left to go in the half. Sunnyslope had a late put-back to extend the lead to 9 points going into the half.

At the start of the 3rd quarter, Sunnyslope continued to shoot the ball well, as they extended their to lead to 47-31 with with 5 to go in the quarter. From there it was a back-and-forth game, and Sunnyslope was able to maintain a 55-42 lead after three quarters.

In the 4th period it was much of the same, as both teams traded baskets and Ironwood attempted to chip away at the lead, but Sunnyslope was able to make the plays necessary to hold the lead - winning 69-61 and earning the Holiday Hoopsgiving Championship.

For Sunnyslope, Paul Hayden, Carson Basham and 5-foot-10 sophomore guard Oakland Fort led the way for them. Hayden led the team in scoring with 21 points.

For Ironwood, 6-foot-3 senior guard Dominic Gonzalez, 6-foot-5 junior Steinar Christianson and 6-foot-3 junior JJ White led the way. Christianson led the team in scoring for Ironwood with 10 points.

Both of these teams are talented, well-coached groups, and should both continue to have serious success this season. Both teams should make deep runs in the Arizona 5A State Tournament.

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