It's likely with two games left apiece that Hamilton and Mesa Mountain View's girls basketball teams are going to be where they are now when the regular season wraps up on Friday. So facing each other as top-10 D-I foes Monday the mission was to keep on a roll and build momentum for postseason.
Hamilton came out on top in that regard using a 29-19 scoring edge in the middle periods to turn back Mountain View, 44-35, at Toro Gym. Senior Shelby Hartman and sophomore Makayla Filiere combined scored in double figures and combined to shoot 50 percent from the floor. Hartman finished with a game-high 18 points and Filiere chipped in with 11. They were 11 of 22 from the field.
On the flip side Mountain View's leading scorers -- Cherokee Davis and Armani Hawkins -- endured a tough night offensively. They each made 3 of 13 shots and combined for 19 points. Davis was the only Mountain View player in double figures. She tallied 11 points. The duo normally accounts for 30 points a game.
"Our goal was to make them take tough jump shots, get a hand in their face at least," Hamilton coach Jeff Kain said. "We backed off on pressure late, but still wanted to make it a tough shot if they were taking it to the basket."
Hamilton's defensive goal was achieved as Mountain View shot 25 percent as a team. Mountain View trailed by 14 (36-22) with 2:51 to play, managed a small surge to finish the third quarter and cut the deficit to nine. The Lady Toros forced six turnovers in the final quarter and had ample opportunity to slice the deficit further. Making 1 of 14 field goals in the final period wasn't the recipe to sustain the comeback.
"As poorly as we shot we still had our chances in the fourth quarter," MountainView coach Herny Bribiescas said. "Hamilton played better overall than we did. We usually make more threes than we did tonight (1). That would have helped."
Hamilton (17-7 overall, 12-5 power-ranking games) has won four games in a row and five of its last six. The Lady Huskies have two games left (Skyline and Perry) and with wins in those should remain in the top 10 of the power rankings. Playing in the toughest section of Division 1 (Section 2), however, the Lady Huskies are currently fifth in the section and likely won't qualify for the four super sectional berths which Desert Vista, Basha, Mountain Pointe and Mesquite own at present.
Mountain View (17-9, 11-5 prg), which had won four in a row and six of its last seven, has all but sewed up a berth from its section (Section 3) to next week's supersectionals as long as it doesn't stumble vs. Westwood and Mesa later this week. The Lady Toros are also trying to inch their way back to health for postseason. Senior guard-forward Christine Miller, who has been out with a broken bone in her hand suffered in early December, played on Monday for the first time since the injury. Miller was averaging almost 10 points a game when she lef the lineup.
Mountain View also hopes to get back freshman Shauna Bribiescas, who has missed a similar amount of time to Miller with a stress fracture in her shin. Henry Bribiescas thinks his daughter may be cleared to return at least for the state tournament.