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He runs. He scores. He defends. And Sedona Red Rock High School senior Cris Paderas is no longer a secret.

senior cris paderas shoots a three-point jumper in a 61-51 win Jan. 7 over Chandler Prep. Paderas scored 36 points in that game and is now ninth in the nation in scoring, according to head boys basketball coach Greg Strickling and athletic director A. Jay Bronson.

Until Fountain Hills High School held Paderas to 17 points on Saturday, Jan. 18, the Texas border town transplant had torched his previous 10 opponents at a clip of 30 points per game, garnering him a top spot among the leading scorers in Arizona and the nation. Not too bad a pace for a 5-foot 8-inch transfer guard who missed the Scorpions’ first 10 games.

“I wanted to keep him a secret for as long as possible, but I guess I’m going to have to go online and update his stats, because the secret’s out,” SRRHS head boys basketball coach Greg Strickling said. “Fountain Hills on defense Saturday, they were like, ‘Cover 24! Cover 24! He can shoot it.’”

Indeed he can: In a loss to Snowflake on Jan. 9, the southpaw with a quick, smooth release from 22 feet scored 47 of the Scorpions’ 62 points on 10 3-pointers. His most complete performance, though, was against Camp Verde High School on Jan. 14, in which he shot 15 of 23 from the field, including nine 3-point shots, to finish with 45 points along with five steals in a 103-64 drubbing of the Cowboys.

“I was just in the zone,” Paderas said about his performance, which according to athletic director A. Jay Bronson was just six points short of the SRRHS single-game scoring record — and put Paderas not only atop the state but ninth nationally among top high school boys basketball scorers. “If we’re hitting like that and keep focusing on our defense, we can beat anybody and accomplish our goal of winning a state championship.”

For the full story, please see the Friday, Jan. 24, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

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