I was at Mesa's Mountain View High School for a heated rivalry between #9 Mountain View (14-9) and #3 Mesa (19-4) on Thursday, January 24th. The crowd was rowdy before the tip of this rematch game that went to Mesa (61-50) two weeks ago.
MV started in a 1-2-2 zone to limit the penetration of the Mesa guards. 6-foot-4 sophomore PG Jalen Jenkins grabbed an offensive rebound and made a lay-up for a 2-0 lead for Mesa. Then a lay-up for 6-foot-10 junior center Isaac Allen, followed by a layup by 6-foot-2 junior guard Colten Meo for a 4 to 2 lead for Mesa. Then Jenkins hit a 15-foot jumper for a 6 to 2 lead.
Mountain View 6-foot-9, 235-pound junior center Payton Dastrup got fouled by Allen and made 1 of 2 free-throws for a 6 to 3 Mesa lead. Dastrup then posted up Allen and got around him for a lay-up for a 6 to 5 Mesa lead.
Jenkins then made one free-throw for a 7 to 5 lead. Mesa's 6-foot-1 senior guard DJ Henderson then hit a mid-range shot for a 9 to 5 lead. Mesa 6-foot-2 senior guard Dan Richards then grabbed a steal and got fouled on his way to the basket - making both free-throws for an 11 to 5 Mesa lead.
Dastrup then made a beautiful assist to 6-foot-1 junior forward Josh Bribiescas for an 11 to 7 lead.
Mesa 6-foot-6 junior forward Felipe Velazco then scored a lay-up for a 13 to 7 lead.
Dastrup then went down and threw another assist to 6-foot-1 senior guard Justin Yetter for an “and-1” for a 13 to 10 Mesa lead.
Jenkins then grabbed an offensive rebound and got fouled - coverting 1 of 2 free-throws for a 14 to 10 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter started with DJ Henderson hitting a three-pointer to go up 17 to 10 for Mesa.
Mountain View was struggling on offense with turnovers and many missed shots. Allen then made one free-throw for an 18 to 10 lead with 4 minutes left in the first half, in a very low scoring quarter thus far.
6-foot senior guard Rock Shill hit a three to stop the drought for MV, for an 18 to 13 Mesa lead. But then 6-foot junior guard Christian Harris matched him on the next play for a 21 to 13 Mesa lead.
Dastrup got to the line and made two free-throws for a 21 to 15 lead for Mesa to finish out the half.
Jenkins had 6 points and DJ Henderson had 5 points for Mesa. Dastrup had 5 points and 3 blocks to pace the Toros.
The second half started with Jenkins making a driving lay-up for a 23 to 15 game for Mesa.
Mountain View's 5-foot-11 senior guard Caleb Nicoll hit a three-pointer for a 23 to 18 lead. But Jenkins went down and hit another lay-up, off of his own miss, for an “and-1” for a 26 to 18 lead.
Dastrup then hit a deep 3-ball, showing his versatility as a prospect, for a 28 to 21 Mesa lead. But Jenkins made two free-throws after a strong drive to the hole for a 30 to 21 Mesa lead. Dastrup scored 4 points straight for a 30 to 25 lead. After Jenkins made a nice pass to Henderson for two points, Dastrup scored again with an “and-1” for a 32 to 28 game for Mesa. Then the play of the game, as Dastrup threw down a nasty dunk, after a quick spin move off of Allen.
But a jumper at the buzzer by Jalen Jenkins would give Mesa a 34 to 30 lead at end of the third period.
Jenkins, a sophomore, and Dastrup, a junior, had both been special in the game. It was obvious to see why both players are regarded as the best in the state for their respective classes.
The final quarter started and Henderson hit a two-pointer, followed by Harris for 1 of 2 free-throws made for a 37 to 30 lead.
Butler then made a much-needed 3-pointer for a 37 to 33 Mesa lead with 6 minutes left in the game.
Dastrup then made a strong lay-up for a 37 to 35 Mesa lead, with 4 minutes left to go in the game and MV gaining the momentum.
Then Jenkins made a real strong left hand lay-up for a 39 to 35 Mesa lead - with 2 minutes left to play and stopping the Mountain View run.
Harris got to the free-throw line after an ill-advised foul, and he made both for a 41 to 35 lead for Mesa with 1:30 left to play.
MV missed a shot and, at 1 minute left to play, Mesa turned it over unexpectedly. The Toros cashed in as Rock Shill hit a 3-ball for a 41 to 38 Mesa lead with :40 seconds remaining.
DJ Henderson got fouled and made only 1 of 2 attempts for a 42 to 38 Mesa lead with :30 seconds left. MV then, unfortunately, missed a three-pointer with :20 seconds left, and Mesa grabbed the rebound and called a timeout.
Harris finished the game with one free-throw, for a final score of 43 to 38 and a big Mesa win on the road.
Jalen Jenkins and Payton Dastrup were special tonight, but the other Mesa players contributed more than the Mountain View players. Jenkins had 17 points, 3 assists and 2 steals and Dastrup had 19 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks. Harris had 9 points and DJ Henderson had 10 points for Mesa in the win.