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4:38 AM Sun, Feb. 17th

Prep Basketball: Vols host Moon Valley in 4A Conference Play-In

A.J. Herrera and the Vols welcome Moon Valley to town at 7 p.m. Friday. (Daily Miner file photo)

A.J. Herrera and the Vols welcome Moon Valley to town at 7 p.m. Friday. (Daily Miner file photo)

KINGMAN – For the first time in school history, the Lee Williams High School boys basketball team will host a postseason contest Friday night against No. 17 seed Moon Valley.

No. 16-seeded Lee Williams and the Rockets will square off at 7 p.m. in the 4A Conference Play-In Tournament. The winner advances to the 4A State Championship, which starts Tuesday night.

The Vols (14-4) enter the contest as the 4A Grand Canyon Region champions, while Moon Valley (11-7) finished third in the 4A Skyline Region with a 5-5 mark.

The two squads have never met, but they do share a few common opponents.

Most notable of those teams is Mingus. Moon Valley beat the Marauders in Cottonwood house 66-55 on Nov. 30, while the Vols won their first contest at home against Mingus 53-47 on Jan. 11 and then lost 57-50 Tuesday on the road.

With that being said, postseason basketball is another story and the best team will come away with the victory.

A.J. Herrera has led Lee Williams this season with 13.8 points and 0.3 blocks per game. Kade Juelfs, meanwhile, has team-high averages in rebounds (3.2), assists (6.3) and steals (2.1).

The Rockets will counter with Trent Hudgens’ 17.2 points and 4.2 steals per game. James Burries leads Moon Valley with 8.1 rebounds and 0.7 blocks per game.

And the Rockets are no stranger to the state tournament – they’ve advanced the last four seasons, including the last two years in the 4A Conference.

A season ago Moon Valley went 17-1, 10-0 in the 4A West Valley Region and advanced to the semifinals before losing 73-47 to eventual state champion Shadow Mountain.

It was a similar exit in 2016-17 as the Rockets once again lost to state champion Shadow Mountain 87-47 in the semis.

Lee Williams doesn’t have as much state experience, as it has one appearance during the 2015-16 season.

That Vols squad went 12-9, 3-3 in Division IV, Section III and advanced to the second round where they lost to American Leadership Academy – Queen Creek.

But that doesn’t matter Friday night as Lee Williams looks to win its second play-in game in program history and keep its special season alive.