March 5, 2005
A team doesn’t win 27 straight games by playing like a bunch of rookies.
Mountain View, which won its first 27 games despite graduating nine seniors and returning just one contributor off last year’s semifinal team, showed once again that its inexperience doesn’t matter.
Facing a veteran Glendale Deer Valley team, the top -seeded Toros dug themselves out of a fourthquarter hole to post a 54-47 overtime victory over the fourth-seeded Skyhawks in the 5A state semifinals Friday at Glendale Arena.
Mountain View advances to play Phoenix St. Mary’s at 6 p.m. today at Glendale Arena.
If either team was wideeyed by the big-game atmosphere, it was Deer Valley.
After taking a 43-39 lead midway through the fourth period, the Skyhawks turned the ball over on four of their final five possessions in regulation, then shot just 1-of-10 in overtime.
"We knew they weren’t a patient team," said senior David Burrows, the Toros’ only returning starter. "We knew they were going to force shots, so we wanted to stay poised and take good shots."
Mountain View scored on three of its first four overtime possessions to take a 50-44 lead. Stephen Rogers capped the run when he passed the ball out of the corner to Tim Coons rather than hoisting up a bad shot. Coons, arriving late to the offensive end, knocked down the uncontested, straight-on 3-point shot to essentially bury the Skyhawks with 1:38 to play.
Christian Polk hit a difficult 3-pointer with 1:23 remaining to cut the lead back to three, but Deer Valley would get no closer. The Skyhawks missed their last five shots — all of them contested 3-point attempts — and turned the ball over once, and Mountain View hit 5-of-6 free throws to seal the game.
"They took some tough shots and I was real pleased that they took some of them," Mountain View coach Gary Ernst said.
Northwest Region player of the year Joe Shaw picked up his fourth foul with about seven minutes to play in the fourth period, so Deer Valley spread the court and attempted to run time off the clock. The strategy backfired.
Mountain View’s Kendall Wallace cut the lead to 43-41 on a layup with 2:30 to go and Harper Kamp tied it at 43 when he grabbed a missed free throw by Coons and put it back in with two minutes to play.
The score was still tied at 43 with eight seconds to play when Kamp stripped the ball from Polk before he could make his move. Mountain View wasn’t able to get a shot off, but the damage was done and the game went into overtime.
"I don’t think (Polk) thought I was that quick," said Kamp, who won his individual battle with Stanford-bound Lawrence Hill by outscoring the senior 18-11. "I was surprised myself, honestly."
5A state championship
Who: Mountain View vs. St. Mary’s
When: 6 p.m. today
Where: Glendale Arena
TV: Cox Ch. 7
Radio: ESPN (860 AM)