Mesa Improves to 12-1 Against Tucson Magnet School

by Tye Jacobs | Posted on Thursday, February 25th, 2021

In a very exciting game, the Mesa Jack Rabbits, coming in with a record of 11-1, took on an improving Tucson Magnet Badgers. Mesa, coming in on a tear, has won (8) games in a row, including a timely win over previously number one ranked Sunnyslope last week. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Tucson Magnet came in with a plan to get back in the winning column after (8) straight losses. 

Mesa boasts a talented roster spearheaded by their “all everything” senior point guard Steven Cervantes (Glendale JC commit). Cervantes (pictured) is a player who has continuously improved each time I get to see him play. Cervantes, who has always been a guard who can score from long range, and create for others, has added the ability to get to the foul line easily to his repertoire. His threat to shoot from three, mixed with his handles, allows him to get to the lane easily, and his creativity, once at the rim, attracts fouls.

Mesa also has a very talented big man in 6-foot-7 senior post Tanner Crawford. Crawford is a great athlete who has a nose for the ball and plays with a high motor. Defensively, he uses his length to change shots at the rim.

A couple key players that help Mesa tick are senior guards Jimari Grayson and Talbot Cummard. Grayson is an athletic combo-guard who uses his body well when attacking the rim, while Cummard is a player who can lock up on defense, while stretching the floor offensively.

Tucson Magnet, while not having the most impressive record, has talent on their roster. That talent consists of two brothers, senior point guard Kenneth Kroese and junior forward Mathias Kroese.  The Kroese brothers are the heart and soul of their squad. As they go, so does Tucson Magnet School. Kenneth is a guard who thrives in transition, locks down on defensive and is a plus rebounder for his position. His younger brother Mathias has a knack for the ball. Around the rim he can score with his strong drives, and does a great job crashing the offensive boards.

When it comes to the game, the records did not indicate just how competitive this game was. It was truly a game of runs.

The first quarter was competitive, as Mesa started hot, behind the defensive effort and great transition play from their guards. But Mesa would begin to falter as senior post player Tanner Crawford got into early foul trouble.

With Crawford out of the game, Tucson Magnet powered behind the Kroese brothers, and went on a 11-0 run - closing the deficit to only two points with a score of 19-21.

This run prompted Mesa’s Coach Scott Stansberry to call a timeout, and challenge his squad in the huddle, which resulted in them ending the half on top with a 36-23 lead.

The second half began just like the first half, with Tanner Crawford making an immediate impact, and being halted by foul trouble. This forced Mesa guards Steve Cervantes and Jimari Grayson to step up their game to keep their team in it.

To compound the foul troubles of Crawford, Grayson went out with an ankle injury late in the second half, which helped Tucson Magnet push to a 37-46 deficit heading into the fourth quarter. During the fourth quarter Steven Cervantes stepped up when his team needed him. He caused havoc on the defensive end and scored (6) of his 23 points to take down Tucson Magnet, and improve to 12-1, while looking like a potential state championship contender.

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