Part II: Mesa vs. Marcos.

So nice we decided to look at it twice. PrepAZ staff reporter Dbell gives his take on last night's Mesa/Marcos de Niza game.

Marcos used their superior strength and athleticism, coupled with a string of free throws late and the game winner by Caeser Boyles with 10 seconds remaining to hold off a pesky Mesa team 57-56 in a wild one on Thursday. Marcos got off to a fast start, scoring the first eleven points of the game. They clearly controlled the inside, resulting in a flurry of easy baskets. However, Mesa stayed patient throughout and began chipping at the lead, led by their star, Lee Cummard. Marcos's turnovers helped Mesa stay close, as they trailed 23-17 after a high scoring first quarter. The second quarter looked like a different game, with both offenses struggling to score as the referees let both teams play. Mesa actually pulled ahead with 5 minutes remaining in the half, but the lead was short- lived. Marcos got back to their aggressive style of play and after a big 3 by Kal Bay, they regained the lead with 2:39 to play, and held on to a two point lead at halftime, 34-32. Marcos shot exceptional from behind the arc in the 1st half, led by Bay draining all 3 of his attempts. However, their 12 first half turnovers kept Mesa in the game.

Mesa came out with more intensity in the second half and regained the lead with 5:13 to play in the third. Marcos missed their first five shots and made five early turnovers, giving the momentum to Mesa. However, Mesa could do nothing with it as they repeatedly missed easy shots in the lane. They ended shooting a lackluster 6-17 from inside the paint during the second half. Marcos finally got it together and took the lead for good with 3:50 left in the third. Marcos pushed the lead to six with a thrilling three point play by their star, Duboise Williams, who scored a team high 20. Marcos led 45-42 after 3.

The fourth quarter proved to possibly be the most dramatic of the young season. The fans got to see the matchup they had been waiting for; between Cummard and Williams. These two stars went heads up against each other the entire night, and it made for great basketball. Marcos continued their physical play, and when Cummard received a technical foul with 5:41 left, Mesa's hopes looked bleak. However, they would not go away, as Cummard redeemed himself with a huge 3 and took a charge on the defensive end to wake up the visiting faithful. Marcos, plagued by turnovers all night, kept the lead by getting to the bonus and hitting clutch free throws, which ultimately won them the game. Bay and Williams hit four clutch free throws down the stretch to maintain their advantage. The last :30 was high school basketball at its finest. It wasn't the prettiest game of the year, but the passion and intensity exuded by these teams showed their wills to win. Training by one, Mesa brought the ball the court and missed a shot, but Mike Crowell followed the shot and scored on a put back, giving Mesa its first lead since early in the third quarter. Marcos, down one with about 20 seconds left, pushed the ball up the court and found Boyles wide open under the basket. He hit an off balanced lay- up, putting Marcos back up one with 10 seconds on the clock. This sent the Marcos fans into a flurry, providing some great early season atmosphere. Mesa turned the ball over in the final seconds giving the ball and, what looked like the game to Marcos, who now controlled the ball and the lead with only 4 seconds remaining. Marcos took the ball out of bounds with 4 seconds and two timeouts. All they had to do was get the ball in bounds. But wait. This is high school basketball. Nothing is a guarantee. They proceeded to throw the ball away, taking no time off the clock and giving Mesa the ball under their own basket with 4 seconds showing on the clock. However, Mesa could not counter, as Cummard could not get a shot off in time and Marcos held on, 57-56. Free throws did Mesa in during the second half, as they shot only 2-8, missing a string of front ends. With time, we could see both of these teams do damage down the stretch.


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