Corona del Sol defies odds for second straight state championship

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Corona del Sol has achieved High School Basketball supremacy winning their second consecutive division one state championship Saturday afternoon defeating Pinnacle 63-59. 

Saturday’s contest was a microcosm of the Aztec’s whole season; overcoming adversity and defying the odds.  

After winning the 2012 state championship, Corona del Sol lost 8 seniors, three of them, Calaen Robinson, Avery Moss and Andreas Peat, went on to receive division one athletic scholarships. 

There were holes to fill and entering the 2012-2013 campaign, head coach Sam Duane put his team’s hopes on the shoulders of Junior Point Guard Casey Benson, and the 6-foot-3, 180-pound guard delivered.

Benson was electrifying all season displaying an impressive basketball IQ that complemented a refined skill set. It’s a combination that makes Benson one of the state’s more intriguing basketball prospects.  Saturday, Benson closed out his junior season by closing out Drew Bender and the Pinnacle Pioneers.  After trailing by 9 points late in the first half, the Aztecs and Benson took over the game.  

Benson used his speed and quickness to penetrate the lane throughout the entire second half, and Pinnacle did not have an answer.  Eventually the Pioneers reached their breaking point as Corona was able to take a lead with 1:19 left in the contest and the Aztecs would hold on to win their second straight title.

“We’ve been in similar positions.” Benson stated after the game, “We wanted to keep fighting and leave nothing on floor.”

For Benson and the Aztecs: to be continued in 2013-2014.