Gilbert third quarter sinks Mesa
February 13, 2018 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365
What Gilbert High didn't do in the
first half of Tuesday's 6A boys basketball playoff game with Mesa High was
take care of the ball. Once they took care of that -- in a clean and
decisive third quarter -- the evening belonged to the Tigers.
#10 Gilbert turned around a two-point halftime deficit by outscoring #7
Mesa 18-4 in the third period and went on to post a 56-39 victory over the
Jackrabbits in a first-round game at Jackrabbit Gym.
Gilbert (16-11) moves on to the quarterfinals to face top-seed Pinnacle on
Friday night at 6:30 at Pinnacle. Pinnacle trounced #15 Highland, 88-42.
Mesa saw its season finish with a glossy 21-6 mark.
Gilbert's starting five was balanced in scoring in the victory. Brycen
Long led with 11 points, Doc Self and Tyler LaGanke added 10 each and
Carson Towt contributed eight. The low-man was Trajon Hawkins, who often
leads the Tigers in scoring. This night Hawkins netted just six. All of
them were tallied consecutively in the final 2:38 of the game as part of a
7-0 run that ended Mesa's hopes at a comeback. Playing well in reserve for
Gilbert was sophomore guard Paul Maldonado, who had nine points and scored
in every quarter.
"We'll be in games if we defend, rebound and take care of the ball,"
Gilbert coach Jay Caserio said. "We were better in the second half
protecting the ball."
The teams were on their way to playing their usual tight contest that
often ends with the winner and/or both teams scoring in the low 40s as
they did back on November 30 when Gilbert prevailed, 44-42. An
eight-turnover first half in a predominantly half-court contest was a
major factor Gilbert was down 20-18. In the third quarter, Gilbert
committed zero turnovers.
In addition the Tigers hit the open man the few times that was the case as
Mesa was played pretty fair defense itself. And on occasion the Tigers
went one-on-one when they had a mismatch in the paint. Gilbert made 7 of 9
shots from the field in the third quarter, including threes from LaGanke
(2) and Long (1). Mesa meanwhile turned the ball over five times in the
quarter and made only 1 of 7 shots from the floor. That basket came from
junior Zach Hobbs, a key portion nightly of Mesa's offense.
Hobbs, however, hardly played in the second half after putting up seven
points in the first half. Hobbs picked up his fourth foul with 3:11 left
in the third quarter and didn't return until 5:44 remained in the game. He
fouled out 27 seconds later finishing with 9 points and leaving Mesa
without a weapon that could have been huge in mounting a comeback.
Seniors Xavier Fuller and Mark Hatch led Mesa in scoring with 12 and 10
points, respectively. Hatch endured a tough night shooting, hitting on
only 2 of 9 from the field. Along with Hobbs, they were the only Mesa
players to score in the first three quarters.
Desert Vista rally
January 11, 2018 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365
Last year Desert Vista and Gilbert
traded five-point wins in see-saw battles. Nothing changed in the manner
of contest Thursday when they met for the first of two meetings at the
Tyrek Chambers took 13 seconds to answer Gilbert's final salvo in the
final 30 seconds providing No. 5 Desert Vista a 55-54 win over the No.12
Tigers in a 6A Central Region game.
Desert Vista improved to 15-3 overall and is now 2-0 in 2-1 in Central
Region play. Gilbert, after notching a 10-point win on Tuesday over Corona
del Sol, dropped to 10-8, 2-1 in region. Both are a game behind region
leader and top-ranked Mountain Pointe. Gilbert's loss was its fifth by
four points or less this season.
Chambers and Alijah Gammage led Desert Vista with 12 points apiece and
center Christian Anigwe added 11 points -- nine in the second half.
Gilbert led most of the game and held a 52-45 lead with 3:41 left after a
basket by Brycen Long. The Tigers controlled Desert Vista's size advantage
most of the game, but the 6-foot-8 senior Anigwe was a factor late at both
ends. He disrupted shots in the paint down the stretch and scored a pair
of baskets in the final two minutes to key the Thunder's rally along with
Anigwe's putback dunk with 54 seconds gave Desert Vista its first lead
(53-52) since midway through the third quarter. Gilbert broke a
three-minute scoreless streak with 28 seconds left as Trajon Hawkins
capped a brilliant, hustling effort with a decisive drive in the lane for
a 54-53 advantage. Hawkins finished with a game-high 22 points and was
dazzling in the third period with 12 points.
Desert Vista didn't seek a timeout after Gilbert took its final lead.
Chambers controlled the possession and made a nifty move in the paint to
net for the game-winner with 15 seconds left.
Gilbert called time with 8 seconds left to set up a final shot. Long got
off a perimeter shot that caromed off the front of the rim. Teammate Doc
Self tracked it down but his off-balance toss at the hoop went awry. Self
scored 12 points and Long chipped in 11.
Mountain Pointe Escapes Gilbert In OT
by Justin Vargas Thursday, December 28
Wednesday night would mark one of the
more anticipated match-ups of this years McClintock Holiday Shoot-Out
hosted at McClintock High School. The red-hot Mountain Pointe Pride (12-1)
coached by Duane Eason, who was coming off of a hard-earned win against
Mesquite High the night before, would take on a tough team in Coach Jay
Caserioís Gilbert Tigers (8-5).
The two teams playing having contrasting styles of play, with Mountain
Pointe pressing the entire game; usually with their run-and-gun system
against a very half-court based Gilbert offense, that is very patient and
methodical and chooses their shots carefully. It had the makings of a good
Mountain Pointeís full-court pressure seemed to wreak a little bit of
havoc on Gilbert early, but the Pride allowed Gilbert to hang with them by
committing careless turnovers in transition after creating turnovers on
the defensive end. Both teams would go back-and-forth in the opening
quarter with neither willing to give an inch to allow either team to go on
any kind of run. A baseline fall-away jumper by Mountain Pointeís 6-foot-4
senior guard Amarion Cash before the buzzer would break a 15-all tie to
give his team the lead out of the first quarter.
Both teams would continue their stingy ways early In the 2nd quarter as
neither team could create more than a one possession lead. Gilbertís
5-foot-10 senior guard Doc Self would hit a 3-pointer to give his team
their biggest lead of the game, 25-19, with 4 minutes to go in the 1st
half. Their 6-foot senior guard Trajon Hawkins would hit his second 3-ball
of the quarter to give them a 28-21 lead with less than 3 minutes left.
Gilbert would take a 31-27 lead into the half.
Gilbert would come out of the locker rooms attempting to take the air out
of the ball to slow down the fast-paced Mountain Pointe attack. The Pride
just could not get any type of flow going early in the 3rd quarter,
looking out of sorts with the ball. Gilbertís feistiness on defense giving
the Pride more problems than they could handle. A sweet feed from
Gilbertís 6-foot sophomore guard Paul Maldonado to teammate, 6-foot-1
sophomore wing Brycen Long, under the rim would give the Tigers their
first double-digit lead with 2 minutes to go in the 3rd. But showing they
were just down and not out, Mountain Pointe would get back-to-back 3-balls
from their sharpshooting 6-foot-5 senior forward Ryan Pate and 5-foot-9
junior guard Khalid Price to bring them back to within 4 with 15 ticks
left in the 3rd period. However, Brycen Long would strike again as he
would answer with a 3-pointer of his own at the buzzer to send the Tigers
into the final quarter up 49-42.
The two teams would get back to their ways of trading buckets early in the
4th quarter, with Mountain Pointe really struggling to convert from the
free-throw line. The Gilbert defense would give the Mountain Pointe
shooters more open looks from 3 than mall Santaís giving out candy canes,
however the Pride failed to cash in on the opportunities. Nevertheless,
with 1 minute left in the game, Price would can 2 free-throws to tie the
game at 53. Hawkins would give the Tigers back the lead with 2 free-throws
of his own. A possession later, he would do it again, canning another set
of clutch free-throws to give his team a 4-point advantage. However, Price
would score a lay-up in less than 5 seconds to get Mountain Pointe back to
within 2 with 9.4 seconds to go. Out of a Gilbert time-out, Mountain
Pointe would force a jump-ball on the in-bound pass with 6.8 seconds left
and the arrow in their favor. Price would find 6-foot-7 sophomore forward
DeAndre Henry under the hoop on a beautifully drawn up inbound play by
Coach Eason to force overtime.
On their first offensive possession, Price would hit a running floater to
give the Pride their first lead since early in the 2nd quarter. With the
game tied, Brycen Long would hit another trey with a minute and 30 seconds
left. But not to be outdone, Price would come up big again with a 3-ball
of his own to tie it back up. With Mountain Pointe clinging to a one-point
lead and 10 seconds left, Long would try another shot from deep but would
miss as the Pride escapes with a 66-64 victory.
Price would lead all scorers with 24 as Gilbertís Trajon Hawkins left it
all on the floor with 21 points of his own in the losing effort. Hawkins
is as tough as they come in this state. The kid has no fear and is not
afraid of getting inside and banging with the big boys in the paint for
rebounds or hitting the deck for the loose ball with the guards. The
Tigers go as he goes. Though they came up short, he made all 6 of his
late-game clutch free-throws and he might not have hit the rim on 4 or 5
of them. He defines the way the Tigers like to play.
Gilbert outlasts Mesa
November 30, 2017 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365
Gilbert High boys
basketball coach Jay Caserio and Mesa High coach Shane Burcar grew up
close by in the same Michigan town separated in age by five years. Their
teams play a similar brand of basketball and this season with little size
on either side it was a defensive battle worth watching.
Two technical foul free throws by Trajon Hawkins and three by Doc Self in
the final 2:44 proved the difference as Gilbert hung on for a 44-42 win
over Mesa in a 6A contest at the Jungle.
Gilbert (4-2 overall), fielding the youngest team in Caserio's 11-year
tenure, was more than happy to nab its first power-ranking win after
losing one at the buzzer Tuesday night against Boulder Creek. Mesa (5-1)
lost for the first time this season and is 1-1 in power-ranking games.
Gilbert used a huge third-quarter advantage sparked by Self that turned a
two-point halftime deficit to a 39-28 advantage heading to the fourth
quarter. Self, who tied for game-high honors with 19 points, made all four
of his field-goal attempts in the third quarter -- three from 3-point
range. Hawkins added five points in the quarter and Jaqwuan Myles four
combined to outscore Mesa, 22-9, in the third period.
Gilbert did not make another basket the rest of the game. The Tigers led
39-30 after a timeout with six minutes to play and that's when Mesa senior
guard Mark Hatch (team-high 19 points) and Zach Hobbs (14 points) went to
work to rally the Jackrabbits. Hatch made a three-point play and sank a
long three. Hobbs, an outstanding 3-point shooter, also hit a three (his
fourth of the night) and the game was tied at 39.
Gilbert took the lead for good, 41-39, with 2:44 left after Hawkins sank
free throws off a technical foul assessed to Hobbs. Gilbert turned the
ball over three times in the next 2 1/2 minutes, but Mesa missed shot
attempts on all three of the ensuing possessions. Hatch missed a tough
three with 18 seconds left and Gilbert ended up with the ball. Self went
to the line for a one-and-one with 12 seconds left and made both. Hatch
raced up court and couldn't convert on a drive to the basket. Self was
fouled again and made one of two free throws with three seconds left to
seal the victory. Hatch banked in a three at the buzzer.
"Neither of us has size, but size can be overrated," Caserio said. "We
both have the ability to shoot it and handle it, and the three-ball can be
the equalizer. One of the keys for us was the defense by Tyler LaGanke on
(Mesa's Xavier) Fuller. Fuller can be a handful. Tyler played all 32
minutes and Fuller (five points, none in the second half) didn't have a