St. Mary’s guard Dymond Simon, recovering from an injured left ankle, has been cleared to play, but coach Frank Denogean said he’ll likely hold his star point guard out of the lineup for two more weeks.
“She’s released to play, but we’re going to be very careful with it,” Denogean said. “We’re going to take the careful approach and stick with the light workouts.”
Denogean said Simon, who’s averaging 15.1 points and 4.7 assists while playing in seven of the Knights’ 16 games so far this season, is healthy enough to play tonight when the Knights take on Desert Valley Region foe Desert Mountain. But being 100 percent for next month’s state tournament is most important, Denogean said, adding that being cautious with Simon also allows other players to become more seasoned.
“It’s going to allow those younger kids to get more minutes on the court,” he said. “We’re not by any means punishing her, but we want her to finish out when it really counts.”
Who is on guard? If you are wondering what happened to Pinnacle — expected to be a 4A Division I title contender — look no further than the Pioneers’ point guard situation.
That job belonged to the team’s best player, Brock Entner, until he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the Pioneers’ second game. Shortly after, his backup, Jordan Gaspari, followed him onto the injured list with a shattered elbow.
The good news for the Pioneers (15-7) is the injuries have given playing time to freshman Nuno Muandumba, who has shown flashes of greatness.
Making the adjustment: Mountain View guard Kendall Wallace was the Toros’ sixth man last season. This year he opened as a starter playing shooting guard.
After several games, Toros coach Gary Ernst decided his club would be better suited if Wallace played point guard. The strategy has worked.
Wallace leads the Toros in scoring at 18.3 points a game and averages better than four assists. His scoring early in the year was particularly important with Harper Kamp out with a foot injury.
Wallace turned in one of the top scoring games in Toros history last Friday, netting 39 in a win over Dobson. That was just three points shy of the school record set by Brad Geddis.
The 6-foot-3 junior connected on 15-of-23 field goal attempts, including 7-of- 9 from 3-point range. Still some fine-tuning is being asked of Wallace by Ernst.
“Last year he had no pressure,” Ernst said. “This year we’re asking a lot more of him. He’s done a very good job handling the ball, and shifting from the two (shooting guard position). We’ve really needed his scoring in several games.
“With Harper coming back and getting back into shape, it’s another adjustment for everyone. Harper can take the scoring load off some. We’re looking for Kendall to do a little better job distributing the ball.”
Forward Stephen Rogers is the only other Mountain View player averaging in double figures at 14.7 per game. The Toros usually thrive on balanced scoring.
That’s what has helped make unbeaten Corona del Sol so tough this season, as four of its starters are averaging in double figures and the Aztecs have an inside and outside presence.
High marks for a Hawk: It hasn’t been a stellar year for Highland boys basketball, but senior guard Kevin Hummel gets high-fives for his effort.
The 5-foot-10 guard has played all season with a stress fracture in his back. The Hawks are 3-16 overall, but his desire to compete despite the nagging pain is noteworthy.
Hummel is averaging a little better than eight points a game and better than four rebounds per contest.
Top guns: Mountain View won the Page Invitational over the weekend. Three Toros took home individual titles: Spencer Jackson at 140 pounds, Justin Castillo (145) and Dan Huber (215). Jackson was also named the tournament’s outstanding wrestler.
- Staff writers Brad Falduto and David Argabright
contributed to this report.