Mesa Mountain View's first-half performance Monday night was the prototype for what basketball coach Gary Ernst wants to see this season.
Balanced scoring. Good defense. Strong rebounding. Good decision-making. The fist 16 minutes of the Toros' season-debut made it a success in a 75-53 victory over Boulder Creek at Toro Gym.
Mountain View, one of a few teams that didn't begin play last week in an invitational, had five players score in double figures. Its offense was solid, particuarly in the first quarter. The defense the same. The Toros led 21-8 after the first quarter and 33-13 at intermission. They shot better, controlled the boards and forced 10 turnovers in fashioning the 20-point lead.
“I liked the balanced scoring,” Ernst said. “The more guys you have capable of scoring in double figures, the tougher you are to defend.”
Leading Mountain View's double-digit brigade was guard Andy Sessions with 17 points, 13 in the second half. Sessions transferred from Red Mountain after last season. Six-foot-9 senior center Payton Dastrup, who recently signed with BYU, was next with 16 points. Nine of Dastrup's points came in the first quarter. Next was guard Austin Denham (12), including a trio of threes, sophomore Zane Jowaiszas (10) and sixth-man Josh Bribiescas (10).
“Andy and Josh are coach's sons,” Ernst said, referring to Andy's dad Greg Sessions (Mountain View girls and Red Mountain boys) and Josh's father Henry Bribiescas (Mountain View girls). “They understand the game. They usually do the smart thing. Andy came up to me after the game and mentioned a couple times he made bad decisions. It's nice having them out there.”
The play of Jowaiszas caught Ernst's attention the most. He played for the freshman team last year and made the leap to varsity.
“He's improved so much from last year,” Ernst said. “I didn't know if he'd be nervous or tentative. He did a nice job scoring, but what he does best is rebound.”
Boulder Creek (3-3) played five games last week in the Salpointe Tipoff Classic to open its season. The Jaguars had a tough time the first half, getting off only 18 shots (Mountain View had 31) and making just four. They warmed up in the second half making seven threes and getting plenty of open shots and layups.
Boulder Creek's Kennedy McGrath, bothered by foul trouble in the first half, finished with 17 points. He scored 13 in the second half. Guard Trevor Miller added 11 — all in the second period. Boulder Creek played Mountain View nearly even in the second half.
'I liked our defense the first half, didn't like it the second half,” Ernst said. “We gave up 40 points in the second half. There wasn't as much intensity on defense the second half.”