Mesa uses outside shooting, defense in convincing win over Red Mountain
January 26, 2024 by Ben Stapley, AZPreps365

For the first 17 minutes Friday night, Red Mountain kept things close with Mesa.

But that's when the Jackrabbits went with the long ball and clamped down defensively, using a fast and furious third quarter rally on its way to a 51-35 victory over Red Mountain in a 6A East Valley Region contest at Mesa High.

Senior AJ Seumanu hit two three pointers and led the 'Rabbits (18-5, 7-0) with 20 points and seven rebounds. Teammate Jarren Galarza added 10 points, including a pair of three-point field goals and a two steals, one of which came on a Red
Mountain inbounds pass, leading to a quick layup during a 17-3 run in the third quarter.

Mesa hit six three-point field goals combined, with Daniel Arnett adding two of his own.

"We put in a lot of work with our three point shooting," Mesa senior Mcky Peters said of his team's performance Friday night. "We have so many guys who are capable, so it's nice to see it pay off when it counts."

Red Mountain (12-11, 5-2) narrowly lost to Mesa by three points when the teams met two weeks ago at Red Mountain. For a while Friday night, it looked as if the Mountain Lions would push the Jackrabbits to the limit once again.

Brice Bigler led Red Mountain with 11 points, and the Mountain Lions trailed 21-16 at the halftime break. One minute into the third quarter, Gage Lindsey knocked down a three pointer to bring the Lions with two points (21-19).

That's when Mesa broke the game open on its 17-3 run, and eventually going to the fourth quarter with a 38-24 lead. Six different Jackrabbits scored during the run, which was capped off by a mid range jumper from Daijon Grayson.

Red Mountain wasn't about to lay down, however. The Lions went with a full court press in the fourth quarter, forcing a slew of turnovers and cutting Mesa's lead to single digits (42-33). That's when Galarza catalyzed another run for Mesa, including his second three-pointer before converting a layup after a steal, making the score 49-33 with 1:44 to play.

"Jarren is instant offense off the bench and he always makes the right play at the right time," Peters said of Galarza. "He knocks down big shots and he just brings so much energy and effort it motivates everyone."

Mesa’s victory over Mountain View another showcase of peak school rivalry
January 17, 2024 by Ben Stapley, AZPreps365 

The Mesa basketball team gave its rambunctious student body exactly what it craved Tuesday night: a victory over bitter rival Mountain View.

The Jackrabbits used a balanced offense to frustrate the Toros for most of the game, the result of which was a 57-43 win in a 6A East Valley contest at Mesa High.

The 'Rabbits had three players score in double figures. Conway Cummard led with 17 points, while John Petersen (16) and Jarren Galarza (14) combined for 30 more. But it was Galarza's hot hand during a seven minute stretch over the second and third quarters that provided the difference in the game. The senior drained four consecutive field goals in that time frame, catalyzing a 22-6 run that sent Mesa fans into full delirium.

"When Jarren is hitting the three pointers it makes it so much easier for the rest of us," Conway Cummard said of Galarza's long range accuracy.

"When he gets on a streak like that, all the focus goes towards him."

Galarza's fourth three-pointer gave the 'Rabbits a 40-24 lead in the third quarter. They would carry that lead into the fourth quarter, and the game was essentially over.

Tuesday night's excursion between Mesa and Mountain View demonstrated a few things:

Records are meaningless in this basketball rivalry, and last night's event proved it's still one of the state's best.

"This atmosphere is just so electric," Mountain View principal Mike Oliver said well before the game began, almost in awe at the mass of humanity already packed into one gymnasium.

Records may not matter in a rivalry game, but experience in an environment like Tuesday night does.

Conway, Petersen, and Galarza are all seniors, along with AJ Seumanu, perhaps Mesa's most unique player in terms of size and position. Listed as a 6-2 center, Seumanu is undersized on paper, but built to handle the heavy lifting required down low. He can also handle the ball like a guard.

Having lost two close games to Mountain View last year, Mesa's experienced seniors undoubtedly had their sights set on last night's game for some time.

"Seeing and hearing our fans show up like that really gives us extra confidence," Cummard said about last night's raucous home crowd.  Mesa Athletic Director David Klecka has experienced the most intense of rivalry atmosphere in his time. First as a football player at McClintock, when the rivalry with Tempe High was one of Arizona's most fierce. Then as a coach and administrator at both Mountain Pointe and Desert Vista.

"This was unbelievable tonight," Klecka said. "I loved every second of it. The energy was rising during the freshman game. It reminded me a lot of the Ahwatukee Bowl for many years. In these types of games, records don't matter, but I do agree experience is key in this type of setting."



  1630 E Southern Ave.
  Mesa, AZ 85204
  (480) 472-5900


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