Thunder aggressive play proves too much for Aztecs

Jalen Glapion, Sports Writer

Another rivalry matchup for the Desert Vista Thunder came against the Corona Del Sol Aztecs who have had disappointing season going (11-8) so far, not even ranking the top 40 of Arizona when last year, they were ranked 3rd in the state.

What a difference a year makes.

Last year these two teams went 1-1 against one another and definitely have some history going up against each other in the championship three years ago where Corona won it all. The Thunder came into this game with something to prove.

It was a tough start to both the Aztecs and Thunder with neither team scoring a single point in the first 2 minutes of the game, but it wasn’t long until the Thunder left left Aztecs in the dust scoring off their next 3 possessions. DV forward Osasere Ighodaro was the first player to break the ice giving the Thunder their first bucket from a inside floater followed by a 3 pointer from Alijah Gammage. Both teams struggled in the first, but Corona struggled much worse taking more than 5 minutes to score their first points counted from the charity stripe to put the game at 2-7.

The next possession DV turned the ball over and Isaiah Wilson came away with a viscous chase down block that led to a run out slam dunk from Wesley Harris. In the last minutes of the quarter, the Thunder stole the ball and Wilson delivered a 2 hand dunk. The Thunder played impressive defense the entire quarter ending with 3 blocks, a steal and several forced turnovers. DV shut Corona down with an ending the score of 4-13.

The second quarter started with Corona executing their first shot to get out of their dreadful shooting slump. Not long after, the Thunder’s defense led them to more offense with Wilson converting 2 free throws and a tough layup forcing a double digit lead at 6-17. Hard times remained in scoring for both groups who only scored six the first six minutes. In the last two minutes both teams picked up the pace as the Aztecs cut the lead down to just seven until Wilson brought it right back to nine with another tough acrobatic layup. Corona ended up scoring the last points to end the half off at 16-23. It wasn’t a high scoring half but it was definitely controlled by great defensive efforts between the two teams.

DV began the half with Tyrek Chambers converting a pull-up mid range and Harris making his first three pointer of the night. Two minutes into the second half the Aztecs scored their first points, bringing the next possession back to the Thunder. DV continued to score effortlessly after another layup from Chambers pushing their 13-3 run. In the last three minutes of the quarter the Thunder put a emphasis on their lead after Harris — an and-1– to press their lead to 20. DV’s forward Jared Kincade increased the lead after a contested layup to 21-43. This was the Thunder’s best quarter going on a 20-5 run until the last minute the Aztecs scored four. The Thunder were running away with the win in the third quarter by playing with purpose and a quarter ending score of 25-43.

Scoring came easy to Harris and Wilson, getting the first points of the final quarter. DV played aggressive throughout the game, scoring a majority of their pints in the paint and kept the inside lanes locked down all night. With six minutes left, Christian Anigwe owned the paint to give them a momentum bost blocking two shots which led to a corner three from Gammage. Both teams played to score in the 4th quarter with the Aztecs racking up 14 and the Thunder taking 15 in the first half of the quarter. The Aztecs fought back to cut their deficit from 22 to 14, but Harris still was still able to maintain the lead contributing big on both ends. He finished the second half with 16 points bringing his total to 20. The Aztecs concluded the game on fast break layup to finish the score at 46-60, with the Thunder finishing off on top once again to mark another talley in their win column, bringing their record to 17-3 and ranking them 3rd in the state.