The Red Mountain boys basketball team defeated their regional rival, the Mesa Jackrabbits, 70-60, Friday night in a close game at Red Mountain that resulted in Mesa’s first regional loss of the season.
Andre Harris scored 27 points, including several key free throws in the fourth quarter, and Quincy Ross contributed 13 additional points to help their team secure the win after Red Mountain’s top player, Timmy Allen, fouled out in the fourth quarter.
“Timmy’s a big leader, you saw it on the bench… it was big that he came out (of the game). He’s a scorer, defender, and we just had to keep pushing. The bench came up big. Big time free throws, big time steals,” Harris said.
Despite fouling out, Allen finished the game with 21 points, 14 of which were scored in the first half.
“We couldn’t keep Allen off the boards. He had 14 points in the first half and most of them were off offensive rebounds,” Mesa head coach Shane Burcar said.
Red Mountain controlled the pace of the first half, led by 10 points at halftime, and held Mesa to 17 first half points.
Of Mesa’s 17 first half points, 12 of them came from 3-point shots, as they struggled to score inside the perimeter against Red Mountain’s size in the front court.
“We went 6 for 23 in the first half,” Burcar said, “When you shoot 6 for 23 you’re not going to beat anybody.”
Red Mountain scored most of their points near the basket, and finished the game without a made 3-pointer.
The game started with a low-scoring, defensive first half, but turned into a shootout by the second half.
Xavier Fuller led Mesa in scoring with 18 points before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Senior guard, Mark Hatch, scored 16 points in the loss.
“The biggest thing for them is four (Hatch) runs the show for them and we try to do our best to contain him and I thought we did a pretty fair job,” Red Mountain head coach Chris Lemon said.
Mesa went on an 8-2 run in the fourth quarter after Allen fouled out of the game, but was never able to cut Red Mountain’s lead to less than five points.
Harris’ late-game scoring was a big factor in Red Mountain maintaining its lead.
“Andre Harris is more than capable of taking over a game and he came up huge down the stretch,” Lemon said.
9 of Harris’ 27 points came from fourth quarter free throws, as Mesa was forced to foul late in the game.
“We had other guys step up. They’re more than capable, it’s just being able to actually get an opportunity. And they got their opportunity,” Lemon said, “The more reps they get, the more experience they get, the better they are.”
Red Mountain improved to 14-9 overall and are now 5-2 in regional games.
Mesa is now 18-5 overall and their first regional loss drops their record to 7-1 in regional games.