Mesa Red Mountain’s boys had a 10-day break between its last game and the first three the past two days in the Arizona Basketball Challenge at Mesa Mountain View High.
That game Dec. 15 left a bad taste in the mouths of the Mountain Lions, a loss to Phoenix South Mountain, and they’ve rectified the situation.
Playing solid — but not spectacular — ball, Red Mountain knocked off Chandler Hamilton, 54-41, Saturday on the second day of the tournament.
Red Mountain improved to 11-3 and ran its tourney record to 3-0. The Mountain Lions’ other two losses are to Gilbert Highland, 5A Division I’s top-ranked team to date.
Hamilton slipped to 6-5.
“We did a really nice job on the boards and took care of the basketball,” Red Mountain coach Greg Sessions said. “That second thing we don’t always do. If we do those things, we have a good chance of winning.”
Red Mountain turned the ball over just five times all game and limited Hamilton to two offensive rebounds.
Red Mountain turned an 11-4 deficit seven minutes into the game to a 27-20 lead by halftime. The slow first-half start emerged again in the second as Hamilton managed to tie things up at 29 with about 11 minutes to play.
From there Red Mountain took control. Chris Lewis scored 10 of his game-high 14 points in the second half and Paul Newendyke added nine of his 13 after intermission.
Red Mountain pushed the lead to double figures with five minutes to go, and that ended the day for Hamilton.
“We’re struggling right now,” Hamilton coach Kevin Hartwig said. “We’re not competing like we should, and I’m not finding the right things for us to do. We need to regroup, and come more focused.”
Hamilton has played six games in the last nine days and with its gym being used by the girls for the Nike Tournament of Champions, practice time has been hard to come by combined with the back-to-back tournaments the Huskies have played in since Dec. 18.
Jeff Bunker added nine points for Red Mountain, all in the first half on three 3s.
Micah Fetters paced Hamilton with 11 points.
Mesa Dobson continued its hot streak, pulling away early in the second half to defeat Laveen Cesar Chavez, 90-82, for its seventh straight win. Jarrett Green tallied 25 points for Dobson, grabbed six rebounds and had three assists. Jon Bailey added 24 points and Jerry Harville chipped in 18 for the Mustangs.
Green hit a 3, then made a steal and pulled up to can a 10-foot jumper with about 10 minutes left in the second half to help Dobson open up a 10-point lead, which it maintained most of the rest of the way. Chavez’s Brandon Brown scored a game-high 28 points, including 6 of 11 from 3-point range. The victory by Dobson avenged its last loss to Chavez on Dec. 4.
Phoenix Desert Vista’s Dan Tillman drove hard to the hoop and nailed a 5-footer with 10 seconds left to give the Thunder a 58-57 win over Scottsdale Saguaro. A short hook by Saguaro freshman Jack Connors with 30 second left had given Saguaro the lead.
The teams combined to miss six free throws in the final minute as the game see-sawed. Marcus Lever led Desert Vista with 17 points. Steven Morin led Saguaro with 21 points and had six rebounds.
Eric Hunt hit two key field goals in the final five minutes, the first putting Mesa Mountain View ahead to stay as the Toros rallied in the second half to defeat Lone Peak, Utah, 60-51, in the best game of the tournament’s first two days.
Hunt finished with a team-high 22 points, making 8 of 10 shots from the floor and 6 of 7 from the free-throw line.
His basket in the low post made it 47-45 Toros and he followed his own missed free throw with a bucket to cap a huge 6-0 run that snapped a 45-45 tie.
Nathan Murphy added 13 points and Asaad Woods six points and eight rebounds.
Mountain View is now 11-0. Lone Peak is 6-2. BYU-bound Tyler Haws led Lone Peak with 24 points and teammate Nate Austin, also headed to BYU, finished with 11.
North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake, Calif., rebounded from an opening round loss by handling Tucson High, 81-55. Damien Cain (14 points) and Mike Attanasio (13) led a balanced attack for Harvard-Westlake. Sama Taku netted 23 points for Tucson.