Deer Valley Cruises Past Independence

by Justin Vargas | Posted on Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

Tuesday night would mark Deer Valley’s first home game of the season, as the heavily favored Skyhawks hosted the Independence Patriots.  Deer Valley (4-0) would be coming fresh off a tournament championship effort in the Sunnyslope Hoopsgiving Tournament - defeating the defending champs and the tournament's host, the Sunnyslope Vikings.

Independence would be coming in at a solid 3-1 and would prove that they shouldn’t be taken lightly.  While Deer Valley looked to be the longer, more athletic and talented of the two teams, Independence is very well coached with long tenured Head Coach Matt Maragh still at the helm.  In addition, they are a scrappy, tough group of young men that does not seem to know the word “quit”.

Like most high school contests, the game started out sloppy on both sides with both teams turning the ball over at breakneck speed, and missing ample scoring opportunities in the paint.  While Independence’s undersized 6-foot-1 forward, Alexis Jimenez, made his presence felt early with some tough rebounds over the much longer Deer Valley frontcourt, and a few early buckets that included a smooth spin move that led to an even smoother reverse lay-up in traffic.  However, Deer Valley’s full court press began to overwhelm the Independence backcourt early and often, as the Skyhawks pulled out to a 18-10 lead after their 6-foot senior point guard Deven Breckner got an and-1 bucket to go off of a steal.

Nevertheless, Independence showed their resiliency early as back-to-back buckets out of the time-out brought them to within 4, ending the first quarter at 20-16.

Breckner would come out of the 2nd quarter prepared to put on a little bit of a show, as he hit an Independence defender with a crossover and a no-look dime to 6-foot-7 junior forward Brandon Savage that would’ve made “The Professor” (And-1 Mix Tour) proud.  However, Independence’s 6-foot-2 guard De’Shawn Pearson wasn’t about to allow his team to lay down, as he spent the 2nd quarter all over the court with some defensive pressure, on the glass on both sides of the ball and penetrating at will.

Just as Pearson tied the game with just under 6 minutes left in the half, Deer Valley’s 6-foot-2 senior guard KeyVaughn Williams' unselfishness began to be the difference for the Skyhawks, as his drive-and-kick would assist a 3-pointer to 5-foot-8 junior guard Johnny Diaz to give his team a 30-24 lead.

Deer Valley would finally get the expected contribution from their ultra-talented 6-foot-8 senior forward Bryce Davis, as he would record a blocked shot, rebound, steal, bucket and an assist - all within a 35-second span, to help put his team up by 10 with 4 minutes to go in the half.  They say pressure busts pipes, and that’s exactly what it did to Independence late in the first half, as Deer Valley’s speed and athleticism proved to be a little too much for the Patriots, as they fell behind 44-34 at the half.

Davis would ignite the crowd and his team with a transition slam dunk 4 minutes into the 3rd quarter, giving his team all the momentum and a 52-37 lead.  Breckner would do his part to lift the crowd off their seats, and he penetrated with his left across the middle of the lane, and faked a behind-the-back pass with his right hand, and finished the lay-up in traffic that gave me flashbacks of former NBA guard Jason “White Chocolate” Williams.

KeyVaughn Williams showed a flash of aggressiveness after taking a hard drive to the hoop, and finishing with an and-1 lay-up - capping it off with a “where you at?” stare at the defender.

Pearson tried his best to keep his team within striking distance, as he got two shots to fall at the end of the 3rd quarter, 65-51 in the Skyhawks' favor.

Deer Valley 5-foot-8 senior point guard Ari Danzy opened with a Russell Westbrook-esque euro step that caused a couple “woo’s”.

Independence attempted a short-lived full-court press to try and cause some turnovers and easy buckets, however the poise of the veteran Deer Valley backcourt was having none of it, as they broke the pressure with ease.  They would bring the Patriots out of the press for good after Breckner would dribble weave through defenders, and feed Davis for yet another dunk to give them a 69-53 lead.  Meanwhile, Danzy continued to drive and finish at will with both hands.  A two-handed, big boy dunk by Savage would stretch the Deer Valley lead to 12 with 3 minutes to go.  Then, a 3-pointer at the top of the key by Davis would put the nail in the coffin with just over a minute left, as Deer Valley would pull out an impressive 89-71 win.

Independence’s Pearson would lead all scores with a gutsy 27-point performance, but a balanced scoring attack from the Skyhawks, led by Davis’ 22, and aided by 15 from both Breckner and Savage would prove to be too much.

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