Welcome to the heart of the pre-holiday break campaign in boys basketball, with teams hitting their collective strides on the hardwood.
Last week saw varying levels of success across northwest Tucson, with Pusch Ridge Christian Academy, Marana and Mountain View winning all their games, while Catalina Foothills won two of three and Ironwood Ridge and CDO both won one of three.
This week is the last non-tournament action on the hardwood until after the holiday break, with several noteworthy contests taking place.
Some upcoming games include Catalina Foothills hosting Sabino on Tuesday, Ironwood Ridge hosting Gilbert High School on Thursday night, CDO playing Amphitheater on Friday and Pusch Ridge hosting Northwest Christian in a rare Saturday night showdown.
There were many noteworthy efforts over the past week on the hardwood, with several standing out amongst a crowded fray.
Without further ado, here are the three best outings by northwest Tucson players over the past seven days:
3. Julian Molina — Mountain View High School senior guard
Stats: 28 points (Ironwood Ridge), 20 points (Vista Grande)
Molina has gotten off to a strong start offensively for Corey Duck’s squad, averaging 20.1 points per game for the Lions. His effort last week was equally phenomenal, scoring at or above his season-long average in each of the team’s contests. The senior is one of, if not the best volume scorer in the city and showed yet again why he’s a prime player to build an offense around. The Lions will go as far as Molina can carry them, with a young roster that has three players (Molina, Jaylen Young and Cameron Cotton) averaging double-digits this season.
2. Lucas Elliott — Pusch Ridge Christian Academy senior center
Stats: 13 points, 11 rebounds (Walden Grove), 26 points, 14 rebounds (Canyon del Oro)
Elliott’s continued ability to dominate both sides of the ball for the Lions is remarkable, with back-to-back double-doubles against two solid teams last week. The 6’10 center is one of the best rebounders in the state, averaging 13.8 points and 10.9 boards per game this season. It’s hard to reiterate how impressive such a stat line is in the high school game, which consists of four eight-minute quarters. Elliott has been a tour de force in the paint for the Lions, providing the interior backbone for a squad that’s raced out to an 8-1 start, looking the part of a state title contender in the 3A division.
1. Carson James — Catalina Foothills senior guard
Stats: 33 points (Nogales)
James makes his way to the top of this list for the second straight week thanks to an eye-popping stat line that includes the senior hitting on seven of his nine three-point attempts. James provided the offensive mettle for the Falcons, hitting each of his first six shots from the field, scoring 21 points in the game’s first quarter alone. The Falcons will go as far as James can guide them this year, which is good news for fans and players alike, as the senior seems to have the wherewithal to shoulder the load on any given night.