Twenty-five lead changes and an outcome that wasn’t decided until the game’s final seconds. Now that’s playoff basketball.
In the end, second-seeded Mesa Mountain View (25-4) defeated seventh-seeded Phoenix Mountain Pointe, 56-53 — in a game closer than even that three-point margin would indicate — to reach the 5A-I state semifinals next week.
“It was just a tough game to score,” said Mountain View head coach Gary Ernst. “Both teams were playing so hard, both teams were very athletic. So when you scored, you were tickled.”
Mountain Pointe (23-8) led 49-48 with 1:30 to play and the ball in its possession, with the chance to go up two possessions as the clock ticked down. But Mountain View senior guard Tyson Lane got his hand on the ball near midcourt, knocking it to himself before finding a streaking Jordan McClelland for the easy bucket to give the Toros the lead — and enough juice for a mini-run during the last minute of play. Mountain View led by five at one point in the final minute.
“Down the stretch, they executed a little bit better than we did,” said Mountain Pointe coach Brian Fleming. “That’s inexperience with this tournament, too. It’s the first time being in this tournament.”
The game was literally back-and-forth for all four quarters, as the flurry of ties and lead changes indicates. But it was the Toros, with 6-foot-5 sophomore forward Camryn Boone, getting timely offensive rebounds in the first quarter to keep the Pride from opening a big early lead.
And it was Boone and company doing the same late, scoring time and again on put-backs following their own misses.
“We just work really hard,” said Boone, who had 12 points for the Toros and added that he and his teammates were not willing to let buckets go to waste. “None of them. We wanted every one.”
Mountain View’s Asaad Woods led all scorers with 16 points, while Jaron Sweeney added 14 and Lane eight.
For the Pride, Tylor Wimbish and Steven Knox led the way with 14 each. Israel Marshall chipping in eight and Davon Jones had six.
Ernst, who led the Toros to three straight state championships from 2005-07, said that he’s excited a new crop of players will get that chance.
“I just care so much for the kids that I’m really happy they get to experience it,” Ernst said. “I’ve been there enough times myself, that it really is about them and their experience.”