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Millennium has reached three final fours and two state finals the last six years but this might be its most talented team
Richard Obert, azcentral sports

Goodyear Millennium’s girls basketball team, on paper, looks like the best team in Arizona.

And get this, the players are home-grown.

The Tigers got one transfer, but she was moving back from out of state after growing up in the Millennium area.

“You don’t get to see this in high school sports a lot,” coach Courtland Rojeck said. “They’re home-grown. They’re girls who have grown up around this area.”

Millennium has moved down to the 5A Conference this year. Not that it ever struggled in the highest classification.

Millennium reached the 6A quarterfinal each of the last five years, reaching the final four three times and the state final twice.

The Tigers lost to Surprise Valley Vista in 2017 and to Mesa Dobson in 2015 in the state finals.

“I think this team this year is the most talented team we’ve had,” Rojeck said.

There is a combination of size and speed with talented defenders, scorers and rebounders.

In the rotation:

– Ali Zelaya, a 6-foot-4, junior forward, whom Rojeck describes as a “a great defender and shot blocker,” who holds offers from Arizona, Michigan, Colorado and UNLV.

– Dominique Phillips, a 5-11, senior guard, a fourth-year varsity starter who can score inside and outside and rebound. She has committed to Nevada.

– Alaina Diggs, a 6-1 senior center, a state champion in the shot put, whose older brothers helped mold her to be a complete athlete who can guard anyone on the floor.

“They’ve helped me face anyone,” Diggs said.

– Alexyss Nance-Newman, a 6-1 senior wing, who is long, athletic and can shut down anybody and score inside and outside. She moved back to Arizona this past year from Washington, when her parents got a job offer back to come back here.

– Jasmine Singleton, a 5-6 junior point guard, who is one of the best on-ball defenders and a born leader.

– Shyann Heredia, a 5-6 senior guard, who might be the team’s most improved player.

– Trayanna Crisp, a 5-6 freshman point guard, who is one of the state’s best freshmen and will contribute offensively with her ability to create off the dribble.

“Our talent this year is off the charts,” Zelaya said. “We have every position, every aspect to take it to the next level.”

The girls take pride in the home-grown aspect of this team.

“We take pride in all being from Arizona,” Zelaya said. “A lot of us are D-I-bound or committed to D-I schools.”

They’re all leaders, motivating each other. They’re all close friends.

“We do team bonding, and most of us play club together,” Phillips said. “We’re ready to show it. We’ve spent three, four years working on it. Hopefully, this year it pays off.”

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To suggest human-interest story ideas and other news, reach Obert at richard.obert@arizonarepublic.com or 602-316-8827. Follow him at twitter.com/azc_obert.