The Mesa High senior forward averaged 27 points a game in helping the Jackrabbits post wins over Phoenix Pinnacle, Mesa Dobson and Yuma High last week. Fuller is averaging 24 points and 11 rebounds per game. Mesa leads the 5A East Valley Region race with one week to go.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
The Desert Valley Region teams are evenly matched. Tuesday night marked the end of the first round of region play and no team is unbeaten after three region games. Scottsdale Desert Mountain and Phoenix St. Mary’s are tied for first at 2-1 after Desert Mountain knocked off St. Mary’s 79-65 on Tuesday. Phoenix Brophy and Glendale Mountain Ridge are 1-2 after Mountain Ridge notched a 68-60 region win Tuesday.
The team’s overall records portray the region standings. Desert Mountain is 15-8, Mountain Ridge is 14-9, St. Mary’s is 13-9 and Brophy is 11-11. Desert Mountain’s huge fourth quarter Tuesday (a 29-19 edge) was the difference against St. Mary’s with the Wolves trio of Kyle Smith, Danny Franz and Colby Wagner doing what they do to the max. Normally, the three combine for 49 points a game. Tuesday they totaled 67.
Hawks still soaring: Gilbert Highland’s winning streak of 14 is the longest current streak in the conference. The Hawks have two region games remaining against the second- and third-place teams in the region — Gilbert and Chandler, respectively.
Highland was able to overcome an early stretch this month where starters Nick Witherill, Chris Johnson and Nick Johnson all missed games. K.C. Toolson, one of last year’s few holdovers, has also played solidly. Toolson is averaging 9.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.
Champs feeling heat: Mesa Mountain View’s chance at a fourth straight state title looked promising on Jan. 1. But the Toros have struggled through inconsistency and health issues this month and are getting perilously close to not qualifying for state. Entering play tonight, the Toros are 14th in the power rankings. The latest Toro to miss at least a game due to illness is sixth man Nathan Murphy, who has now missed three games with pneumonia. Mountain View closes the season at Gilbert (tonight), at Mesa Dobson (Tuesday) and at home vs. Mesa Westwood (Thursday). Dobson, No. 16 entering play today, faces Red Mountain, Mountain View and Mesa in its final three games. The Mustangs played Wednesday without sophomore starters Jarrett Green (knee) and John Bailey (flu).
Rhodes returns: Scottsdale Saguaro forward Matt Rhodes returned to action in a 100-67 win over Cave Creek Cactus Shadows on Tuesday. Rhodes, an All-Tribune second team selection last year, injured his neck in a collision with a Tempe McClintock player on Jan. 15. Saguaro went 2-2 in his absence and dropped from the 4A-I top-5 rankings.
Scottsdale Christian (12-1) plays host to Phoenix Northwest Christian (12-1) tonight at 8 with the regular-season 2A Central Region title going to the winner. Northwest prevailed when the teams met Jan. 12, 52-50. Phoenix Desert Vista (3-0 region) can put a wrap on the 5A Central crown tonight if it tops visiting Chandler Basha (2-1). The Thunder prevailed by two points last week in their first meeting. Scottsdale Horizon (3-2) seeks revenge against Pima Region leader Phoenix Pinnacle (6-0) today at 7 p.m. at Horizon.