Desert Vista Knocks Off Mountain Ridge For Play In Game

by Tye Jacobs | Posted on Thursday, January 17th, 2019

In a play in game for an entry and a chance to compete for the 6A State Championship, we had a match-up between two hungry teams, as Desert Vista took on Mountain Ridge High School.  A battle between a couple good senior players in Isaiah Wilson of Desert Vista and Trask Morgan of Mountain Ridge - both trying to keep their senior season going for another week.

Both teams started the game out in zone defense, which started momentum in favor of Mountain Ridge, as they showed the ability to knock down the long-range bomb early.  This allowed them to get out to an early 8-2 lead.

Desert Vista would quickly switch the game plan by going to a full-court man defense, which turned the tide of the game and made Mountain Ridge work a bit harder for open shots. Matthew Jensen of Mountain Ridge started extremely hot, showing the ability to knock down open threes, and score off of dribble pull-ups. He led all scorers entering the second quarter with 7 points on perfect shooting from the field.

The second quarter began a bit sloppy, with both teams struggling to score and making lots of turnovers.  One bright spot for Desert Vista was the play of 6-foot-9 junior post Osasere Ighodaro, who showed the ability to score in a variety of ways in the post.  The most fascinating thing about Osas' game is his ability to pass out of the post position.  Most bigs his age and size get tunnel vision, but instead Osasere has eyes in the back of his head - continuously finding guard Marcus Wady for open buckets.

As Oso goes, so does his squad.  They began to spread the lead with a 7-0 run late in the second quarter - stretching the lead out to a three-possession game.  Desert Vista would lead at half 33-25.

To begin the second half, Mountain Ridge came out to execute some well-designed sets, that led to a couple easy buckets.  They dictated the pace and slowed the game down to fight back within 5 points.  It didn’t help that Oso picked up three-consecutive ticky-tack fouls and had to be subbed out.

In order to change the pace of the game, Desert Vista went to a classic hold-the-ball method to get Mountain Ridge out of the zone. Like something I never seen before, they held the ball at the top of the key for the remaining two minutes of the third quarter.  They ultimately knocked down a three at the buzzer to lead 39-31. (Arizona high school basketball is in drastic need of a shot clock!)

The fourth quarter began with the Trask Morgan and Matt Jensen Connection.  They made a few quick plays as the lead stayed tight for Desert Vista, closing the gap to 41-37.

While down four, Mountain Ridge began to stall.  They stood at the top of the key holding the ball for a solid minute before starting any offense (once again high school needs a shot clock), an interesting tactic as they were down 4 points at the time.

After a few really slow possessions, Desert Vista went back to zone with a bit over a minute left, and immediately were punished by a big three from Jensen - bringing the Desert Vista lead to 40-42.  Isaiah Wilson was fouled and went 1/2 from the line to push the game to a three-point lead.

Off of a wonderful inbound play, Trask Morgan had an opportunity to tie the game up, but missed left.  Malik Mack would score his first two buckets of the game to finish the game.

All in all, it was a very competitive game that should get Desert Vista ready for the next step towards a state title.  MVP of the game has to go to Desert Vista’s DJ.  His playlist was radio worthy!

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