Mesa Basketball Puts Down the Mountain View Toros
There are rivalries and then there are rivalries. Michigan and Ohio State. North Carolina and Duke. Alabama and Auburn. In high school basketball in the state of Arizona there isn’t a more heated rivalry than Mesa High and Mountain View High. This is a rivalry that is heated between the players as well as the fans of each school. On Friday night, the two schools met in a classic high school game that had region implications on the line.
“Just compete on every position. The basket is still 10 feet regardless of the crowd size. Go out there and compete.” Mesa head coach Shane Burcar told his team before they took floor against Mountain View.
Mesa went out from the tip and made it clear to the Toros that the game was going to be a grind. Xavier Fuller, Mesa center, got the party started by getting Mesa out to a quick 2-0 lead and Zach Hobbs made his presence known by hitting a couple of three pointers.
The quick start made the Jackrabbit faithful, who were already a fever pitch, go absolutely nuts. Mesa High fans are what give this Mesa team the energy it needs in a tough, gritty game like this was.
“The crowd was electric. The game was on the announcements in school all week. You could tell there was a buzz in the building. This is the reason you come to Mesa.” Coach Burcar said after the game.
Sitting next to another Mesa High legend, Junior Taylor, we could hardly hear each other as we discussed the game.
What Mesa brings to the table every time they step on the court is a tough defense. That was on full display on Friday night. Mark Hatch and the rest of his Mesa teammates were not letting anybody from Mountain View gain an inch. The Jackrabbit defense was communicating all night, switching on screens, fighting over the top of screens, and getting their hands on the ball for deflections.
Mountain View was not going away. The Toros are well coached team. The players run their offensive and defensive schemes like a well oiled machine. Mountain View has some height, some thing that Mesa does not have in abundance. Mountain View was going to try and take advantage of that. At times, the Toros did use their height to their advantage.
However, the Toros didn’t use it enough.
Remember that Jackrabbit defense I mentioned? It showed up and showed out on Friday night.
Xavier Fuller of Mesa was active all night on the defensive end of the floor. He was contesting shots, using his body to keep the Moutain View big men from getting easy buckets. It was an impressive site to watch him play all night. Fuller finished with 16 points and four rebounds.
Mark Hatch, Mesa High guard, was the epitome of calm and collected.
“He lets everybody else on the team relax.” Coach Burcar said.
Hatch kept his hands in the passing lanes and kept those good shooting guards of Mountain View from getting any kind of rhythm. Hatch finished with a team high 17 points and five rebounds for the game.
Singling out Hatch and Fuller is something that most people could do watching film on this team, but defense is a team concept. The defensive scheme that Coach Burcar, Coach Hatch, and Coach Hobbs come up with on a game by game basis is clearly working. Mesa players have bought in. The success of this basketball program has made the players buy into what the coaching staff is telling them. The players want to win.
The Jackrabbits walked off the court with a 50-41 win. Notice served.
The players at Mesa High will run through a wall for Coach Burcar and his staff. The team wants to continue the climb in power points and in the rankings. Mesa wants to get to the top of the mountain like they did in 2016.
To get to the top you need a team effort. Mesa has that team concept and willingness to do just the that.
Fear the hop everybody, Mesa is coming for you.