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AIA365 Staff | Students

Les Willsey

Staff Writer,

Corona del Sol, Benson cool off Hamilton in boys hoops

Dec 14, 2012

The first month of the season for defending Division I boys basketball champion Corona del Sol has been a learning experience. And by the looks of things the Aztecs are hitting the books hard.

Picking up on new roles with essentially three players back with championship experience, Corona reeled off its seventh straight win Friday night with a 55-46 triumph over visiting Hamilton at Corona del Sol.

"We're understanding our roles now," Corona del Sol coach Sammy Duane Jr. said. "Casey (Benson) and Bryan (Siefker) are the most experienced guys. But they've had to do different things and adjust. They're getting more comfortable, and doing what we hoped they would do."

Corona (9-1) was played to a standstill the first half by Hamilton (9-3) and its patient, motion-offense. The Huskies led most of the first half with guard Zach Evans and center James Sosinski combining for 14 of the Huskies 19 first half points. Corona inched ahead with just more than three minutes left before halftime. That was the culmination of Benson demonstrating his offensive skills and and quality decision-making. Benson scored five points in the first period and added eight on 4-of-5 shooting from the field in the second. Whetherwith dribble penetration, transition or pulling up quickly for jumpers, Benson was hard to control.

"Benson and Siefker are tough players," Hamilton coach Kevin Hartwig said. "Benson can hit the three and go to the hole and finish. .. We started off with good energy, Got it inside a couple times to James (Sosinski). As the first half wore on we backed off and got a little tentative. That's when they came back."

Corona continued to build on its 23-19 halftime lead as the third quarter progressed. Benson, who finished with a game-high 23 points, and sophomore Cassius Peat combined for 12 of Corona's 15 points in the third period. Hamilton, which managed five points in the second period, added only seven more in the third and trailed 38-26 heading to the final eight minutes.

Siefker picked up the offensive slack in the final period for Corona, tallying nine of his 16 points. Siefker made a pair of threes in the second half helping to fend off Hamilton. The Huskies cut the lead to seven a couple times, but couldn't make it a two-possession game at any time in the final quarter.

"We gave a good effort," Hartwig said. "We've had some blowout wins, and this game gave us a chance to see where we're at. We've played a lot of games. It will be good for us to have some practice time until we play again Dec. 27 in the Boulder Creek tournament."

Senior guard Michael Garcia kept Hamilton in the game with nine of his team-high 13 points in the fourth quarter. Evans also scored 13 for the Huskies and Sosinski finished with 11 points. Starting guard Nate Walker, averaging nine points a game, finished with one point. Walker played much of the game with a swollen shooting hand. Hartwig saidWalker will have the hand looked at on Saturday. Corona del Sol is also idle until after Christmas as it once again takes part in the Basketball Challenge Dec. 26-29 at Mesa Mountain View High School.