Gilbert High has a boys basketball team that needs to be paid some attention. The Tigers keep proving that.
The latest evidence was Friday morning's 89-70 victory over Houston Christian at the Visitmesa.com tourney at Mesa Mountain View High.
Gilbert ran its record to 8-1, opening the contest with a 15-5 run and closing the first half with a 9-0 run that gave the Tigers a healthy 53-31 advantage after 16 minutes. Gilbert coach Jay Caserio continues to be pleased with his team's make-up, effort and development of depth which contributed to the lopsided triumph.
“This is the first team I've had with a lot of size,” Caserio said. “We're getting scoring from a lot of guys. I think we're close to having five guys average in double figures. Everyone understands that and they're willing to share the ball. We're a pretty solid group.”
Senior point guard Anthony Bryant displayed a well-round game with 15 points, five rebounds and five assists. Bryant did all his damage via penetration and transition. He scored 13 of his 15 points in the opening half on 6-of-8 shooting from the field.
The 5-foot-11 Bryant is part of a starting lineup that goes 6-9 (Wyatt Lowell), 6-8 (Truman Moore) 6-7 (Spencer Nicolds) and 6-4 (Eric Mosley). Lowell connected for 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, helping the Tigers to a 44-29 reboundin edge. Nicolds led in scoring with 17 points, 11 in the first half from he and Lowell. Moore finished with eight points and Mosley had six.
Gilbert's bench pitched in nicely with 14 points in the first half from Chris Bowling, Nick Agostino, Trevor Spires and Cole Carlson. Bowling joined Bryant, Nicolds and Lowell with double-digit scoring, hitting for 10.
Among Gilbert's victories to date are Desert Mountain, Highland, Chaparral and Red Mountain. All sport winning records. It's lone loss was to Shadow Mountain, a game the Tigers played without Moore and lost by eight. Gilbert's next game in the tournament is Saturday (Dec. 28) at 7 p.m. vs. St. John Bosco.
RED MOUNTAIN 63, DESERT MOUNTAIN 60: In the second morning game on Friday, Red Mountain took back the lead it owned most of the first half with about six minutes left in the second half to edge Desert Mountain. Three 3-point field goals in the second half by Red Mountain's Diego Hernandez helped Red Mountain regain the lead. The Mountain Lions stuck to that lead the final five-plus minutes by scoring in a variety of ways, including several easy layups breaking Desert Mountain's press.
Reserve Brian Smith scored eight of Red Mountain's final 14 points, the beneficiary of the press break. Smith tallied on three layups and amde two free throws with 53 seconds left to aid in protecting a four-to-six point lead down the stretch. Smith finished with 10 points. Jalen Jenkins led Red Mountain with 16 points and had seven rebounds. Colton Plourd joined Jenkins and Smith in double figures with 13 points.
Jenkins manuevered for two big baskets as Desert Mountain pressed for the lead, led by its point guard, Rolando Ryhmes. Rhymes and teammate Jordan Lossman kept Desert Mountain close in the final minutes. Lossman finished with a game-high 18 points and Rhymes added 16.
The game featured a coaching matchup of Todd Fazio, who coached Desert Mountain the past seven seasons before moving over to Red Mountain for the current campaign, and his successor at Desert Mountain, Kurt Keener.