Two East Valley schools are looking to take their games to the next level.
In 2013, Mesa Mountain View was eliminated in the first round of the Division I boys basketball tournament, while Hamilton was bounced in the second round. Mountain View and Hamilton improved in 2014, with each team earning a spot in the quarterfinals.
Now, Mountain View and Hamilton will try to extend its tournament appearances next winter, and that process started last weekend at the Best In Basketball Summer Invitational.
“For us, this weekend was more just about getting a lot of kids some playing time and evaluating,” Hamilton coach Kevin Hartwig said.
The Huskies have to rebuild after losing eight seniors to graduation. They’ll have to replace Zachary Evans 10 points per game and compensate for the five rebounds Dylan McCall averaged each night.
Hamilton does return 6-foot-7 senior-to-be James Sosinski, who averaged 11 points and seven rebounds per game in 2013-14.
For Mountain View coach Gary Ernst, the key to getting beyond the quarterfinals comes down to getting his team to play as a single cohesive unit. The Toros are similar to Hamilton in that they lose several seniors — Mountain View has to replace seven in all, including 6-foot-9 center/forward Payton Dastrup. Although no one player will be able to replace what Dastrup brought in the middle, some names to watch out for include 6-foot-7 David Beecher and 6-foot-5 Trevin Crider.
“The five weeks we’re together in the summer are critical,” Ernst said. “You want to end the summer on a high note with your chemistry built, with a lot of the things you’re going to do put in, and they can rest the rest of the summer and get ready for school.”
• Contact writer: (480) 898-6549 or firstname.lastname@example.org.