Tuesday night was an epic night for the Desert Vista High School basketball team and first-year head coach Gino Crump. Crump and his team would make a major statement on the evening, the biggest statement of the year, with an exciting 85-56 blowout victory over host Chandler High School.
Desert Vista (3-0) came into the match-up sporting the best lineup in the state’s high school ranks, for AIA membership programs, while Chandler is super athletic and features possibly the state’s top overall prospect in 6-foot-7 junior wing Tevian Jones. The night quickly, and I mean quickly, a night and coming-out-party for 6-foot-6 junior wing Wesley Harris and his Desert Vista teammates.
Desert Vista, behind a monster athletic effort from Wesley Harris, would take the Chandler team and their home crowd by storm in the early beginning of the match. Not even 3 minutes into the game, Wesley Harris would leap above his competition and teammates for an offensive rebound in transition, and dunk the basketball with authority with two hands. With 3:37 left to play in the first period, Harris would come right back with another two-handed dunk on a missed shot attempt by a teammate. After a longer ranged jump-shot by 6-foot-10 junior post Steele Bennett, Harris would march down the floor after a steal by a teammate and collect another monster dunk in transition.
Desert Vista would take a 21 to 9 lead after the first period – putting the Chandler team in desperation and shock from the early game performance and intensity by Desert Vista.
In the game’s second period, the game was played at a frantic pace, as both teams rushed down the floor to get something going – Chandler looking to get back in the game and Desert Vista looking to increase their lead. Chandler would try to remain in it after a tap-in on a missed shot by Tevian Jones, but DV would answer with a 25-foot three-pointer from 6-foot junior guard Alijah Gammage. Gammage would then thwart an opposing Chandler ball handler at half-court on the inbounds pass, only to create an offensive foul on the ball handler after taking a charge.
Desert Vista would continue where they left off, as 6-foot-6 senior wing Noah Baumann (San Jose State signee) would then knock down a three-pointer on a curl move at the top of the key – making the score 31-15 with 2:59 left to play.
Chandler’s Jones would collect his third foul late in the second period and go to the bench, before Desert Vista would end the first half with a another nice basket from 6-foot-9 junior post Christian Anigwe.
Desert Vista would take a halftime lead, 35-24, led by 13 first half points from Wesley Harris.
Desert Vista would continue pouring it on in the third period immediately, as Baumann would knock down another three-pointer as the period began. Then back-to-back dunks by 6-foot junior guard Duane Miller and 6-foot-6 senior wing Caleb Simmons would force Chandler to take a much-needed timeout, with the Thunder jumping out to a 44-25 lead with 5:50 left to play.
With 2:34 left to play in the third period, Desert Vista 6-foot-3 sophomore guard Jared Kincaid would get a steal and also a two-handed dunk of his own to give his team a 20-point lead.
Desert Vista would eventually win the ball game in fine fashion, 85-56, behind a gallant team effort, where everyone on their team contributed. This game was a flat-out statement to the state of Arizona that Desert Vista will be the team to beat this high school season, and that they are for real as a team. Tuesday night’s effort was as good a team performance as I have seen in some time in Arizona.
Friday evening, Desert Vista will face top-rated and nationally acclaimed Findlay Prep (NV) at Rancho Solano Prep, in what will be the game of the year for our state.
Chandler’s Tevian Jones finished with a team-high 22 points in the loss.