St. Mary's High School (10-7) has now won four games in a row since losing five games in a row and losing star 6-foot-1 sophomore guard Marcus Shavers to injury in this year's Visit Mesa.com Basketball Tournament over the holidays.
Shavers, who is among the leading scorers in the state, averaging 24 points per/game, injured his hip in the first game of the Visit Mesa.com event - a 70-61 loss to Gilbert Christian High School. Shavers would miss the remainder of the tournament. As a result, the Knights would lose each of the remainning games in the tournament and also a battle with a strong Pinnacle HS team (59-54). Since the loss to Pinnacle, St. Mary's would win their next 3 games before Friday night's match-up with a struggling Tolleson team.
Shavers would return to action on Friday evening in his team's home game against visiting Tolleson - a nice sight for head coach Ty Amundsen.
"He has not been able to even practice," said Amunsen. "It's nice to have him back, but he has not been able to get any lift off the ground. We are taking it slow."
Tolleson (4-12) has an athletic group but does not play to their strengths and struggles to score as a team. Tolleson would hang in Friday's night road game in the first period, but in the second period would fall behind late in the first half. Tolleson would tie the game in the second period at 15 all after a nice two-handed alley-oop dunk in transition, completed by 6-foot-8 junior post Sayvon Abdur Rahman. It would be the only true highlight of the game for Tolleson.
In the final minutes of the first half, St. Mary's would go on a 10-0 run after a rebound and put-back from 6-foot-9 freshman post KJ Hymes, a three-pointer from 6-foot-2 senior guard Carlos Nosie and another three-pointer from 6-foot-3 junior guard Isaiah Walton.
St. Mary's would take a 25-15 lead into halftime and would not look back from there. St. Mary's would then outscore Tolleson 23 to 15 in the game's second half to win the game - 48-30.
St. Mary's will now hope to get healthy for their next two exciting match-ups, as they host rival Brophy Prep on Saturday (1/17) and then face an athletic Cesar Chavez HS team on Monday in the MLK Classic @ Wells Fargo Arena.
Notes: St. Mary's 6-foot-1 sophomore guard Marcus Shavers was back in action on Friday evening, but is still struggling to be fully healthy - still recovering from a deep hip bruise that he suffered over the holidays. Shavers, while back in action, is not in full health currently and has not yet regained his explosiveness and quickness off the dribble. Shavers' injury simply will take time to recover from, but he is a baller and wants to play and help his team. This young man is a tremendous young talent and will not need any help getting up for Saturday's match-up with Brophy Prep.
The Knights other top-rated young prospect, 6-foot-9 freshman post KJ Hymes was suffering from the flu on Friday evening - causing him to play sparingly in Friday evening's home game with Tolleson. Hymes will look to recover as well in preparation for Saturday's game and also Monday's match-up.