The 21st Nike Tournament of Champions brings some of the very best girls basketball teams from around the country to the East Valley.
Along with it comes Arizona’s top talent pool.
Among the 12 Arizona teams playing in the event are five from the latest 6A Conference Coaches Poll presented by MyNewsMesa.com.
Four of the top five teams – No. 1 Valley Vista, No. 2 Millennium, No. 3 Gilbert and No. 5 Highland – all play in the state’s premier event.
The question is how will the performance of these teams when facing out of state opponents, some nationally ranked, change their perspective on how they rank among 6A Conference teams?
These teams get to sharpen their skills against top competition and then take it out on their opponents – including one another – down the line.
One thing is clear, Valley Vista is a pretty staunch No. 1 as the defending champions received 14 of the 16 first-place votes.
Yet No. 2 Millennium is the one playing in the tournament’s top division.
It will be interesting to see how it all plays out along with the post-Christmas tournaments leading up to the January schedule.
The voters have a clear top five but the bottom five could very well be interchangeable as those teams are separated by 30 total votes.
“I do believe it is very fluid where a lot of these teams can beat each other on any given night,” one voter said.
Red Mountain, which plays in the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas this week, remains the only local to team to garner any votes as the Mountain Lions drop one spot to No. 7.
Here is a look at the final poll until after New Year’s Day:
6A Girls Basketball Coaches Poll (16 votes)
Team (Record) LW Points (First-place votes)
1.Valley Vista (11-2) 1 158 (14)
2. Millennium (9-1) 2 154 (2)
3. Gilbert (11-2) 3 134
4. Xavier (8-3) 4 110
5. Highland (10-3) 5 82
6. Pinnacle (10-0) 7 60
7. Red Mountain (4-2) 6 43
8. Mountain Pointe (10-3) 8 41
9. Hamilton (8-5) 9 40
10. Desert Mountain (8-5) — 30
Dropped out: Perry
Others receiving votes: Perry 24, Tucson 7, Dobson 6, Chandler 3, North 1, Sandra Day O’Connor 1.
– Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send Mesa-based story ideas to email@example.com.