Mesa Mountain View boys basketball coach Gary Ernst hopes he never sees another 13 percent shooting performance. If he saw one in his many years coaching, he didn’t remember one.
Top-ranked Gilbert Highland put on a solid defensive effort Tuesday night and got the offense it needed from Matt Carlino and Nick Johnson to top No. 2 Mountain View, 45-35, in the final game of the 32-game Arizona Basketball Challenge at Mountain View High School.
Carlino scored 16 points and Johnson added 13 as Highland improved to 14-1 on the season and 4-0 in the tournament. The loss was the first this season for Mountain View, which is now 12-1.
“We knew we weren’t going to score 90 points against Mountain View,” Highland coach Mark Carlino said. “That’s just not going to happen. We decided we’d play a possession game. We planned on doing that.”
Mountain View was fortunate to be in the game at halftime after making just 3 of 24 shots from the field and tallying 11 points the first 16 minutes.
But Highland’s lead at intermission was just 18-11, as the Toros were playing defense, too.
Early penetration for three layups by Matt Carlino got Highland off and running and had the Toros playing catch-up all night. Johnson got a pair of quick fouls and wasn’t a factor in the first half.
But none of the Toros were either. Leading scorers Eric Hunt, Nathan Murphy and Asaad Woods were a combined 1-for-15 in the first half from the field. Hunt, who averaged 16 points a game through the tourney’s first three games, was held scoreless. Getting three first-half fouls didn’t help him.
“Both teams played solid defense and I think physically it was a standoff,” Ernst said. “When we did get good looks we didn’t make any. Give them credit. (Chris) Johnson did a nice job defending Eric.”
Mountain View caught fire shooting briefly in the second half. A 5-foot runner in the lane by Toros guard Charlie Meo brought the Toros within 24-23 with 9:40 to play. But Carlino, Johnson, KC Toolson and Chase Wardrop scored baskets down the stretch to open up the lead again and ward off a Toro comeback.
Mountain View was led in scoring by Murphy, who finished with 11 points. Meo added 10 and Woods finished with eight.
Steven Morin scored 24 points and Jack Connors added 15 as Scottsdale Saguaro shot 56 percent from the field and defeated Tucson High, 72-63, on the final day of play in the tournament. Saguaro’s Cole Rorrick added eight points and 10 rebounds.
Harvard-Westlake (Calif.) pulled away in the second half to hand Phoenix Desert Vista its third loss of the tournament, 64-49. Marcus Lever paced Desert Vista with 14 points.
Phoenix North got 26 points from Daniel Bejarano and won its first game in eight tries the past two seasons at the ABC, edging Chandler Hamilton, 56-51. Micah Fetters had 11 points and Ryan Campos chipped in with nine for Hamilton.
Lone Peak, Utah, outscored Mesa Red Mountain 48-23 in the second half and defeated the Mountain Lions, 83-50. Tyler Haws poured in 31 points for Lone Peak, which went 3-1 in the tournament. Red Mountain, 3-2 in the tourney, got 14 points from Chris Lewis.
The 2008 ABC all-tournament team: Matt Carlino (MVP), Highland; Nick Johnson, Highland; Corey Hawkins, Estrella Foothills; Eric Hunt, Mountain View; Cole Dickerson, Federal Way, Wash.; Michael Hale III, Federal Way, Wash.; Tyler Haws, Lone Peak, Utah; Tommy Tebbs, Lone Peak, Utah; Damien Cain, Harvard-Westlake, Calif.; Nuno Muandumba, Pinnacle; John Bailey, Dobson.