The GC3 Hoops Inaugural Grand Canyon Classic tips off on Saturday, December 9, 2023 at Sandra Day O’Connor High School. This event focuses on highlighting some of Arizona’s up and coming high school girls’ basketball programs. The goal is to provide female student athletes increased awareness and marketing to improve opportunities. 

The event will be a double-header that tips off at 5:00pm. The first matchup will involve 4A Dark Horse Prescott against 6A Mountain Ridge. The Prescott Badgers are led by Coach Jami Johnson who currently have a 5-3 overall record. Coach Johnson has put a bunch of ground work in the off-season and the Badgers are on their way to improve their win column from last season and qualify for the 4A state playoffs. The Badgers have a formidable 1-2 punch in Addie Prisciandaro and Bella Abt. Currently, Prisciandaro and Abt are combined for 37.6 points a game. Abt is a double-double machine and the best part is both prospects are underclassmen. 

The Mountain Ridge Mountain Lions are led by Coach Jaimie Carreon. Coach Carreon is one of the hardest workers in the coaching business as he always does a great job to develop his players. The Mountain Lions are 3-4 on the season but are optimistic to continue to improve to make it back to the playoffs as they did last season. The Lions are led by an underclassmen 1-2 punch of their own in Kaliyahna Baldwin and Thalia Hempen. With a competitive loss to Basha, I expect Coach Carreon to continue to steer his program to successful waters. 

In the Main Event (7pm), matches up the Basha Bears and Sandra Day O’Connor Eagles. The Bears are led by Coach Chiniqua Bright who has been working hard in setting a foundation for success with her program. Currently, her Bears are 5-2 with key wins over Perry and Higley. The work all off-season has paid off as the Bears are an early favorite for the GC3 Hoops Most Improved Team as last season they finished 2-23. Players to watch include Rylie Sword and Grace Beckler. 

Host Sandra Day O’Connor Eagles are one of my favorite teams to make a deep postseason run in the AIA Open Division Playoffs. The Eagles are led by Coach Charles Wilson who has done a phenomenal job in keeping his program as one of the most respected programs in the state. In order for teams to stay competitive with the Eagles, they must contain Thalia Daniels, Audrey Bhesania, and Ava Schooler. Historically, the O’Connor program has had a lot of depth at multiple positions and history repeats itself in this year’s team. The Eagles are currently 3-1 on the season with a 1 point loss to #10 (Nationally Ranked by ESPN) Bishop Gorman (NV). 

Both games will be an exciting atmosphere as all four teams are working towards being in mid-season form. The games will be live broadcasted on YouTube through the Wes Coast Communications and GC3 Hoops Channels. Both games will be called live by Anthony Ray (Arizona Preps) and Dana Scott (AZCentral). The staff at GC3 Hoops is excited to be launching this event as it will provide a platform for female student athletes to gain valuable exposure through multiple media platforms.

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