2017-18 Boys Basketball Preview

The Knights had eight players graduate from last year's team. How will ACP's young team fare this year?


ACP’s Junior Varsity team is coming off of its most successful season yet, where they posted a 10-8 record, 6-6 in the section.

Coach Mark Martinez on last year’s JV team:

“What we really enjoyed from the group last year was their competitiveness. They may not always make the best decision, but they are going to compete their butts off until they accomplish a task.”

The team is 2-0 this year, including a game Monday night which elicited a chuckle from Coach.

“Monday started the, uh, late-game antics. Matthew Kearny hit a baseline three at the buzzer which hit the rim, bounced up, hit the back, hit the front, and then fell in. You would’ve thought that we won the Super Bowl with the way we reacted. The good thing about that is that everyone is invested. It didn’t matter that Kearny hit the three instead of, say, Xavier Hendricks. Everybody went crazy, our Varsity guys were running on the court to celebrate with them. Those are all really good things you like to see as a coach, they’re off and running.”

Don’t just come at 7 o’clock for Varsity games this year; be there early to watch JV play, it seems that they could put together quite the season.


Photo via @ACPVB on Twitter

Last year’s Varsity squad put together a solid 2016-17 campaign, going 14-14 in one of the toughest regions in the conference. The team made it to a state tournament play-in game, which they dropped to Thatcher by a score of 55-39.

“We didn’t play our best, you could tell that we were inexperienced in the postseason. They weren’t. They were hungry, they knew what they wanted to achieve” was Coach Martinez’s comment on the game.

Youth Movement

Losing eight seniors is never easy, especially when those seniors consist of leading young men such as Trevor Booth and Jack MacArthur. However, this year’s upperclassmen have done an excellent job of taking their place.

“One of the biggest concerns coming into this year was where our leadership was going to be coming from. Habi Ortiz has stepped up to fill that role. Bryson Gregory is a senior, so is Korey Mason… they’ve taken on the challenge, for sure.”

The Knights are filled with youth this season, with five sophomores and two freshmen on the roster. While some would view this inexperience as a weakness, it can also be viewed as a great asset.

“Our biggest strength is our competitiveness. We don’t know any better… if we overthink a situation, we don’t always make the best decision. A lot of these guys are relying on their basketball instincts.”

Speaking off competitiveness…

“Bringing it every night”

One tournament and two regular season games into the season, the competitiveness of the team is what has really stood out to Coach Martinez. In the Thanksgiving weekend tournament, the team started out by steamrolling Benjamin Franklin and Miami before running into 6A Alhambra. The Knights did not go down without a fight, even when playing against guys who were several inches taller. The Knights led the majority of the contest, and had a chance to win on the final possession of the game down by 2. Unfortunately, ACP fell 44-42, and then lost their final game of the tourney to 5A Vista Grande.

The boys are 2-0 in regular season play, with wins over Odyssey Institute and San Miguel. Like JV the night before, Varsity had a thrilling finish on Tuesday against San Miguel.

“Nic Chang, our freshman, hit a game-winning three. Tied up at 43, Habi got a rebound and pushed it up the court. Passed to Lucas McDougall in the corner, they ran at him, he passed to Nic. Nic stepped up, knocked it down, and we’re 2-0.”

Even after having to play five games in six days, the Knights still played with a fiery passion, earning the win at the final buzzer.

“An exciting brand of basketball”

If you are not a huge basketball person, you will still enjoy watching Knights basketball. The team likes to press on defense, which leads to absolute chaos for the other team. Chaos=Fun!!! On offense, the team runs a motion scheme, meaning a whole lot of off-ball movement and screens. The Knights also get out in transition a lot, so they check all three boxes for fun basketball. Press defense, motion offense, and running in transition is about as exciting as it gets.

Players to Watch

  • ACP is starting two impressive freshmen: Nicolas Chang at the point, and Lucas McDougall as a forward.
  • The three aforementioned leaders (Habi Ortiz, Korey Mason, Bryson Gregory) round out the starting five.
  • Coach Martinez is very impressed with how far sophomore Diego Navarro has come since last season on JV. Diego put up a season-high 11 points in the win against San Miguel.


(Home games in bold)

Odyssey Institute ———– 11/27

San Miguel —————— 11/28

Arete Prep ——————- 12/4

Tonopah Valley ———- 12/7 (Royal Flush)

Chandler Prep ————– 12/11 (Come to this one! Chandler Prep is right down the street, and the team is pumped up for this contest)

Gilbert Classical Academy- 12/12

San Tan Foothills ——- 12/14

Horizon Honors ———— 12/15

Gilbert Christian ——– 1/9 (Come to this one! Against last year’s state champs)

Santa Cruz Valley ——- 1/11

Leading Edge Academy —- 1/17

Gilbert Classical ——— 1/19

San Tan Foothills ———– 1/23

Arete Prep —————- 1/25

Gilbert Christian ———– 1/26

Santa Cruz Valley ———- 1/29

Leading Edge ———— 1/31 (Senior Night)

North Pointe Prep ——— 2/1