Rincon Rangers vs. Mercer Island Islanders
Looking at the two teams on paper you would think them to be two evenly matched teams. Mercer came in with an 8-1 mark with Rincon at 9-3 boasted two athletic rosters filled with highly regarded guard play, strong inside presence, and great coaching. This match up was surely not to disappoint the capacity crowd at Pueblo Warriors Lafayette Lever Gymnasium the host school for the tournament.
To get to this particular game Mercer defeated Galena high of Reno, Nevada a revisited rival from years past. In their best performance of the tourney thus far they put the Grizzlies away in impressive fashion to advance to the championship game. Rincon survived a scare from a feisty Deming high of New Mexico team with leader Chad Davis pulling the game out with a clutch performance at the end.
At tip-off the Islanders would get off to a fast start with an inside block, steal, and assist by Kahlil Mathews for an early 7-2 point lead. Mercer would take an immediate blow when forward Noah Blakney went down with a severe ankle sprain. It took some time to get Blakney off the floor as trainers took extreme caution in tending to his injury. He provided some team heroics in an earlier contest against Tucson Mountain View to lead the Islanders to an overtime victory with seventeen points and six rebounds.
Once play resumed the two teams would close out the first quarter both scoring seven points to make the score 14-9 in Mercer's favor. The second quarter would have a more evenly pace as the two teams traded baskets. Mercer was more deliberate as Rincon tried to up tempo at every opportunity. Michael Woo who usually backed up Mathews at the point guard position stepped in for Mercer and provided six points in the quarter.
David Jackson along with Quinton Jimerson of Rincon provided some nice inside looks scoring four points apiece while the defense seemed to shift to Chad Davis when he touched the ball. Davis provided six points at the half for while Patrick Frost of Mercer scored ten points in the battle of long distance shooters. Kael Kristoff provided the inside punch for the Islanders with six points making the halftime score Mercer 27 and Rincon 21.
Rincon would start the third quarter in what I had grown accustomed to seeing of them. Tough defense and two three pointers from Chad Davis would quickly find them catching and passing the Islanders. At the 2:40 mark of the quarter a timeout by Mercer's coach found Rincon leading 35-30. An eighteen to eight quarter by the Rangers extended their lead to 39-35 with an apparent championship within reach.
The Islanders would start the fourth quarter with a box and one defense on Chad Davis and all but cemented the Ranger offense in the quarter. Clutch three pointers by Alex Stuck and Patrick Frost would all but show the inevitable. While limiting Rincon to just five points Mercer Island would run its offense to perfection forcing fouls to put the game away. In turn they would score fourteen points in the quarter and come out with a 49-44 victory as champions of the San Juan Shootout.
Mercer Island 49
Patrick Frost 15pts, 8 rebs, 2assists; Michael Woo 8pts; Kael Kristoff 8pts, 3rebs; Kahlil Mathews 7pts, 7assists, 2stls 1blk; Alex Stuck 7pts, 1assist; Michae Gottlieb 2pts; Phillip Kaestle 2pts
Chad Davis 15pts, 8rebs; Quinton Jimerson 9pts, 3rebs; Danny Foster 5pts, 2assist, 2stls; David Jackson 4pts, 4rebs; Kyle Anderson 3pts, 4rebs, 2assists; Tomas Carrizoza 3pts, 1stl; Ryan Maish 3pts; Tyler Hall 2pts 5assists, 3rebs
Santa Cruz Shootout All Tournament Team
A.J. Atkins Deming New Mexico
Bronson Bluth Deming New Mexico
Derek Lorenzen Galena Nevada
Chad Seidenstricker Galena Nevada
J.J. Hilling Sahuaro Tucson
Jeff Mundell Mountain View Tucson
Barrett Zeinfield Catalina Foothills Tucson
Warren Lewis Dimond Anchorage
Edmund Hunter Pueblo Tucson
Quinton Jimerson Rincon Tucson
Chad Davis Rincon Tucson
Kahlil Mathews Mercer Island Washington
Patrick Frost Mercer Island Washington
Ron Barlow - PrepAZ