Tuesday night's (Dec. 10) girls basketball game between Mesa Mountain View and host Phoenix St. Mary's carried the theme of “this, too, shall pass.''
Both teams have been struggling, but for different reasons. Better days should come — it is a matter of when.
The injury bug took a big bite out of Mountain View, with at least four or five players sidelined for various lengths of time. The Toros entered this game with four of their five losses by a scant two points.
The cupboard at defending Division I champion St. Mary's was left bare by graduation and other factors. Another key player transferred and coach Curtis Ekmark left the program along with his daughter, Courtney, another team star. She is being home-schooled for her senior year before moving on to claim her scholarship with powerful University of Connecticut.
Mountain View managed to survive this one, 45-28, with coach Henry Bribiescas getting solid efforts from girls whose playing time would normally not be as plentiful. That might help the Toros down the road, should they reach the playoffs, with those players gaining experience.
Mountain View is now 4-5 entering a McDonald's-sponsored tournament in El Paso this weekend, while St. Mary's is 0-8 under new coach Liberty Brittain.
“We were down to our 10th, 11th, 12th players, and they were able to make an impact for us,'' Bribiescas said. “Hopefully, we will be a lot healthier when the new year begins. Before the injuries, we had shown some good signs when we played in the (Gilbert) Highland Tournament.''
Mountain View showed good scoring balance. Guards Cherokee Davis and Tennille Heywood scored 15 and 10 points, respectively, with David knocking down four 3-pointers.
Both teams were aggressive at the defensive end. St. Mary's could not get much consistency with its offense.
That should improve with experience as the season goes along, although Brittain does have a challenge. The core of her team is made up of freshmen and sophomores.