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#9 Basha controls #8 Highland 2nd quarter on for 61-52 win
March 11, 2021 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365

Basha's Torin Bosch (23) defends a perimeter shot by Highland's Derick Caps in first half of Thursday's playoff game. (AzPreps365 photo)

Basha's boys hoops team had a tough go the final 10 games of the regular season, going 2-8 after an 8-1 start. Despite the early up and the late down, coach Mike Grothaus didn't lose faith.

That faith was rewarded Thursday night in the first round of the 6A state tournament. #9 Basha took control by outscoring host #8 Highland, 14-5 in the second quarter en route to a 61-52 victory.

Basha (11-9) earned a Saturday evening rematch at #1 Sunnyslope in a quarterfinal game. Sunnyslope eliminated #16 Corona del Sol in the first round. Highland, which tied #6 Mountain Pointe for the Central Region title this season, finished 13-5.

"I know we came into this having gone through a tough patch," Grothaus said. "We had a lot of close losses. Games we didn't make winning plays when it counted. I know this is a good team. We needed to get back to making plays like we did the first half of the year. Tonight was maybe our best game start to finish."

Senior guard Trenton McLaughlin spread his game-high 25 points evenly over the course of the night. The impetus for the win was the second quarter when Basha snapped an 18-all tie and proceeded to take command at halftime, 32-23. The Bears shot 50 percent from the field in the first half (12 of 24) and limited Highland to 2 of 11 shooting in the second quarter. Highland excels at getting baskets going back door via driving to the basket and cutting. That portion of its game was stifled in the second period going forward.

"We wanted to take that away," Grothaus said. "They got a couple early ones on us, but after that had to put up shots from outside. That was the way I felt we would have to play to win tonight. Our guys did great."

Grothaus complimented the play of his junior post, Brady Reynolds and freshman wing Chris Warren, both starters. Each totaled eight points. Warren sank a pair of threes in the first half - one in each quarter. Reynolds added toughest inside helping defend the back-door assault. Warren and Reynolds both grabbed offensive rebounds off missed free throws in the final 40 seconds when Highland closed to within 55-51 on two free throws by senior Derick Kaps (team-high 17 points).

The lone downside to Basha's play was free-throw shooting, particularly in the final quarter. Over the first seven minutes of the quarter they made just 5 of 11 from the line. Highland was able to keep the score a two-possession game because of that. McLaughlin helped cure that in the final 30 seconds making 4 of 4 as the Hawks were forced to foul. Basha finished 14 of 24 from the line.

Kaps kept Highland in the game with 13 of his 17 points in the second half. AJ Riggs and Mason Knollmiller checked in with nine points each and Jace Patton tallied eight points off the Hawks' bench.


‘Do whatever it takes to be 1-0.’ Trenton McLaughlin, Basha knock off Highland in Arizona 6A boys basketball playoffs 
 March 11, 2021 Brittany Bowyer, scorebooklive.com

The No. 9 Basha Bears pulled off a 61-52 first-round victory over the No. 8 Highland Hawks on Thursday to survive and advance to the state quarterfinals behind an explosive performance by senior Trenton McLaughlin.

“I talked to our kids before the game, you know, for everything they’ve been through with the ups, downs, the emotions, just leave it all on the floor. Do whatever it takes to be 1-0,” Basha coach Mike Grothaus said.

“It’s a new season. We’ve gone through a tough stretch. They’ve been resilient through that. It’s really just a tough group of kids.”

The victory was a huge confidence boost for the Bears, who struggled a bit to close the regular season after a red-hot start.

“We went through it a little during the end of the season, but we knew if we could get it going, we could make a run at this thing, and it was just good to finally get clicking out there during that game,” McLaughlin said.

Basha jumped out to a 9-1 lead early, but Highland fought back and made it 18-18 after one quarter.

The rhythm the Hawks found to close the first quarter didn’t roll over with them, though, as Basha pulled ahead to start the second period. Defensively, the Bears also started to collapse the lanes, forcing Highland to keep putting up jump shots that weren’t falling.

“Our coaches came out with a great scouting report, so we knew what their strengths and weaknesses were,” McLaughlin said. “We knew their shooters, so we just tried to limit their shot attempts.”

Going into halftime, Basha held a 32-23 advantage.

“At the half, the biggest thing that kind of stood out for us was they were shooting at a high clip, and the shots that they did miss we didn’t always clean up defensively, so we really wanted to stress that in the second half,” Highland coach Todd Fazio said.

“We didn’t think they would shoot as well in the second half, and they didn’t, but they got big rebounds late in the game.”

Highland made another strong push to cut away at Basha’s lead, with a crucial shot coming from senior AJ Riggs to make it 37-31. After an intense finish to the third quarter, Basha held a slight 43-39 lead.

McLaughlin was the difference-maker in the final eight minutes. He opened the fourth quarter with a three-pointer. The game eventually boiled down to fouls, and McLaughlin was 6 for 6 from the line in the final period.

McLaughlin has been the team’s leading scorer throughout the season, averaging 21 points per game. Thursday, he put up 25. Senior co-captain Thomas Hastings scored 11, and freshman Christian Warren added eight.

“That was huge for his confidence,” Grothaus said about Warren’s two shots from behind the arc.

For Highland, senior Derick Kaps led the team in scoring with 15, followed by Riggs and junior Mason Knollmiller, who had nine points each.

The Bears (11-9) on Saturday will face top-ranked Sunnyslope (17-1), which handed them a 72-57 loss this season.

As the intensity continues to increase, Grothaus will be looking to McLaughlin to shine bright.

“Great players make great plays in great moments, and he is that player,” Grothaus said. “He’s one of the best offensive players in the state and we will rely on him all the way through. He knows that, the team knows that, and he’s just done a tremendous job for us this year.”
 

 


Basha looks towards the future

February 16, 2021 by Sam Culver, Arizona State University

In an unprecedented year, Basha basketball has kept its head above water despite numerous COVID protocols, starting the season 8-2 to continue a winning culture.

“I’m proud of our guys,” said coach Mike Grothaus. “No kid has ever had to go through something like this, to have had to face some of the adversities they have, they’ve done a great job.”

This will be the Grothaus’ eighth year coaching the Bears, enjoying a 120-79 record. Grothaus won the state championship in 2017 and looks to raise his 2021 Basha team to the same heights.

“It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions for them. Season starting, then pushed back, canceled, back on...they’ve done a great job,” said the coach.

Basha has impressive wins against Corona del Sol, Skyline, and Liberty. The Bears boast a 5-1 home record, and a 3-1 record on the road.

“The blueprint for us this year has been being who we are. It’s an old cliché...you got to focus more on your own team than trying to prepare to face somebody else,” said Grothaus. “We can only control our situation, so we try to prepare the best we can to continue to grow and to get this team better.”

Grothaus preaches accountability. His team is focused on only its ability. This mindset has worked for this season.

The Basha culture is instilled from the top of the roster. Seniors Thomas Hastings and Trent McLaughlin serve as the team captains. Hastings, the 6-1 guard, and McLaughlin, the 6-5 guard, are leading the team in scoring. Hastings has put up 15.6 points per game, and McLaughlin leads the team with a very impressive 23.4-point average. Hastings also leads the team in assists at 3.8 assists per game.

“This year has been about making every game count,” said McLaughlin. “Every game has been made more important.”

Hastings has his eyes set on what lays ahead.

“Go with the flow,” preaches Hastings. “Look towards the future.”

That future? A 2021 state championship for Basha?

Sam Culver is an ASU Cronkite School of Journalism student assigned to cover Basha High School for AZPreps365.com

Sunnyslope moves to 9-0, routs Basha

February 13, 2021 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365

Turnover totals can often be a telling stat in a basketball game. That was not the case in Saturday afternoon's clash between Sunnyslope and Basha, two top-five teams in the 6A boys power-rankings.

Sunnyslope posted 20 turnovers to Basha's six. The scoreboard, however, read 72-57 for No. 1 Sunnyslope over No. 5 Basha when the final buzzer sounded, completing a 4-0 week for the Vikings. Other than the turnover disparity, it was a decisive win for unbeaten Sunnyslope (9-0).

Both Sunnyslope and Basha scored wins Friday night over previously unbeaten teams - Sunnyslope by a point over 4A No. 3 Paradise Honors and Basha big over 6A and No. 3 Liberty.

"Our guys rose to the challenge today," Sunnyslope coach Ray Portela said. "A lot of people may have questioned us in the win yesterday. We played a great first half and not a good second half in that one. We challenged the guys to day to play a full game."

Sunnyslope never trailed, scored the first six points and finished the opening quarter with an 18-7 lead. The Vikings' advantage never dipped below 11 to the finish. A spectacular showing from 6-foot-8 junior Elijah Saunders led the way.

Saunders scored a season- and career-high 32 points and couldn't be stopped. Saunders made 11 of 16 shots and all six of his free throws. He ruled the low post where most of his points were tallied. For good measure he added a couple medium-range jumpers and two threes. The 32-points nearly doubled his previous career best of 18 points.

"We have had some problems with turnovers," Portela said. "Our goal on offense is to get a great shot, not just a good shot."

Sunnyslope did that with great frequency. Several times it didn't take more than a couple passes to get that great shot. The Vikings shot 63 percent from the field in the first half (15 of 24). They were nearly as good the second half (12 of 20). Starting guards Malcolm Olexa and Oakland Fort reached double figures for Sunnyslope with 14 points and 11 points, respectively.

Basha did not shoot well, particularly in the first half in suffering its second loss of the season in 10 games. The Bears made only 8 of 27 field goals (30 percent) in the first half and scored only two points in the game's first six minutes.

Basha's leading scorer Trenton McLaughlin, who connected for 25 points in Friday's win at Liberty and averages 23 per game, was off his game. He played with an injured index finger on his right hand and it did seem to effect his shooting. McLaughlin scored just two points in the first half and only attempted six shots. He made his only basket with 12 seconds before intermission. He contributed more in the second half (16 points). Teammates Thomas Hastings and Lucas Fichiera checked in with 12 points apiece.

Basha picks up steady win over Desert Ridge
January 21, 2021 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365

Basha played keep-away from Desert Ridge maintaining the lead 99 percent of the time on Thursday in the second game of the 2021 boys basketball season for both teams. Save one deficit for a few seconds in the opening quarter, the Bears earned their second win in as many outings posting a 74-61 victory over the Jaguars in a 6A non-region game at Basha High.

The persistent scoring of dependable senior Trent McLaughlin paced Basha's victory. McLaughlin has been chosen first-team, all-Premier Region each of the last two seasons. McLaughlin poured in 33 points making 11 of 15 shots from the field and all 9 of his free throws. The Bears' lead was steady at five to seven points and Desert Ridge was within 61-56 with 4:47 left.

The rest of the game belonged to Basha with a boost offensively from the Bears' other senior starter, Thomas Hastings. Hastings scored 18 points in the opening night win over Chandler, but netted only two through three quarters in this one. His lone three-point basket of the night began a 13-5 run to the final buzzer. Hastings scored 12 points in the final period , including making 7 of 8 free throws clinching the win.

"Their guys know us and we know them," Basha coach Mike Grothaus said. "We run a lot of the same stuff, and they might have run it better than we did tonight. "I like what I've seen so far. This is the deepest team we've had since the state title team (2016). We go eight or nine deep and have guys that can step on a given night."

Desert Ridge (1-1) began the season Tuesday turning back Highland, 45-44. Coach Greg Ream's team thrives on three-point shooting, led by its own senior all-Central Region guard, Joe Kelsey. The Jaguars are used to shooting in then mid 30-percent range from behind the arc, but managed to connect on just 6 of 28 (21 percent). Basha shot about half as many threes and made one more (7 of 15). Four of those makes came from bench players Mason Blankenship and Lucas Fichiera. Kelsey led Desert Ridge with 26 points. The Jaguars' inside presence was manned by Kade Kennedy, who finished with 13 points and Gavin Bray added nine points.

 

 


BASHA HIGH SCHOOL
5990 S. Val Vista Dr.
Chandler, AZ 85249
Phone: 480-224-2100
Chandler Unified School District

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