Terrell Brown was hitting shots from all over the court, Gabe McGlothan was owning the block and the Basha boys basketball team was in a groove that started somewhere around the first tip-off the season.
And yet coach Michael Grothaus called a timeout while the Bears were in the midst of another surge against a quality opponent, about to pull away.
Usually, it’s the coach of the team that is letting the game slip away calling for a stop in play to try and break momentum and readjust what’s happening on the floor.
This time, against Apollo on the final day of the VisitMesa Classic, Grothaus called time. In fact, he does it a lot when his team looks to be breaking away from an opponent.
“I trust they are going to get right back to that level,” he said. “They work so hard on every possession I do it to give them a breather, and then send them back out there and get after it.”
The Bears are certainly getting after it.
Basha entered this week with a 17-0 record with an average margin of victory of 16.0 points.
The Bears, who beat Brophy on Tuesday to go to 18-0, are off to an exceptional start and yet their coach, per usual, is looking more for in preparation for the 6A Premier Regional schedule heating up.
“We have an experienced group that has been playing together for awhile,” said Grothaus, who is in his fifth season. “We still have a long way to go. We are doing a lot of good things, but we have some things we need to improve on.
“We can be better offensively moving the ball and sharing the ball. Although I love what we are doing defensively, there is always room for improvement.”
Understood. No coach is going to come out and say, ‘Yeah, we’ve peaked and we can’t get any better.’
So Gorthaus did his duty, but to win 18 straight to open the year, including a buzzer beater over Desert Ridge on Dec. 2, is a pretty incredible start.
A good portion of the roster is the same as last year’s 23-7 team that lost to eventual champion Mesa. The 50-35 defeat included a two-point second quarter and just five in the fourth.
Each year is different, but it definitely left an ill feeling in their bellies in what otherwise was a very good season.
“We were devastated after that,” said Brown, a slashing shooting guard and standout football wide receiver. “It stuck with us until the summer. We didn’t show up like we wanted to, but we have another chance this year.”
The Bears are trying to downplay the hot start to the year simply because the season really gets started now as only one of those 17 victories came against region opponents.
“As far as I know, there are no awards given for being 17-0 in December,” Grothaus said. “We haven’t accomplished anything yet other than playing with a lot of confidence.”
The longer the Bears keep playing at this level—even if and when the winning streak ends—the more likely Basha stays at the top when it comes to 6A Conference contenders.
The playing rotation is tight most nights, but Grothaus is doing a good job of spreading out the minutes.
Brown (14.3 points in 49 percent shooting, 6.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.5 steals), center McGlothan (13.7 points on 55 percent shooting, 9.8 rebounds), wing Brennen Davis (8.0 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists) and guard Austin Picarello (5.8 points) are the mainstays.
Senior starter Coleson Struths, senior Nico Daal and junior Bryan Baptiste are solid contributors in pushing the Bears to the undefeated start.
“Everyone knows their role and we are not trying to overdo anything and just be consistent,” said Daal, who averaged 5.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists.
“We know if we all approach it that way, we are going to be able to come through most games. We have to just keep working hard.”
– Contact Jason Skoda at 480-898-7915 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JasonPSkoda.
– Comment on this article and like the East Valley Tribune on Facebook and follow VarsityXtra on Twitter.