2012-13 ARCHIVES    
    2012-13 JACKRABBIT ROSTER    
    0 Armando Saucedo 5' 6" 140 JR      
    3 Christian Harris 6' 0" 170 JR      
    10 Cameron Washburn 5' 11" 135 SO      
    11 Jalen Jenkins 6' 4" 185 SO      
    12 Isaac Allen 6' 10" 215 JR      
    20 Andres Gurrola 5' 11" 155 SO      
    21 Sumeet Khara 6' 1" 145 SO      
    22 Jordan Thomas 6' 7" 210 SR      
    24 Kale Abbott 6' 1" 170 SO      
    25 D.J. Henderson 6' 1" 165 SR      
    34 Dan Richards 6' 2" 145 SR      
    42 David Herrera 5' 8" 135 JR      
    43 Felipe Velazco 6' 6" 190 JR      
    11/19 Monday 6:15PM Hamilton (L) 65-67 0 - 1    
    11/20 Tuesday 6:15PM Agua Fria (W) 64-60 1 - 1    
    11/21 Wednesday 7:45PM Mountain Ridge (W) 64-47 2 - 1    
    11/24 Saturday 7:00PM Gilbert (W) 51-50 3 - 1    
    11/27 Tuesday 7:00PM Away McClintock (W) 73-67 4 - 1    
    11/29 Thursday 7:00PM Home Red Mountain (W) 62-50 5 - 1    
    11/30 Friday 7:00PM Away Camelback (W) 60-50 6 - 1    
    12/04 Tuesday 7:00PM Away Skyline (W) 67-50 7 - 1    
    12/07 Friday 7:00PM Away Marcos de Niza (W) 72-63 8 - 1    
    12/13 Thursday 7:00PM Home Dobson (W) 57-40 9 - 1    
    12/14 Friday 7:00PM Away Westwood (W) 62-32 10 - 1    
    12/18 Tuesday 7:00PM Home Westwood (W) 68-27 11 - 1    
    12/26 Wednesday 9:00PM Carson (NV) (W) 55-30 12 - 1    
    12/27 Thursday 7:00PM Temecula Valley (CA) (W) 60-39 13 - 1    
    12/28 Friday 8:30PM Compton Dominguez (CA) (W) 58-44 14 - 1    
    12/29 Saturday 5:00PM Mission Hills (CA) (L) 53-60 14 - 2    
    01/08 Tuesday 7:00PM Home Desert Mountain (L) 47-49 14 - 3    
    01/10 Thursday 7:00PM Home Mountain View (W) 61-50 15 - 3    
    01/15 Tuesday 7:00PM Home McClintock (W) 65-54 16 - 3    
    01/17 Thursday 7:00PM Away Red Mountain (W) 67-64 17 - 3    
    01/18 Friday 7:00PM Away Boulder Creek (W) 71-37 18 - 3    
    01/22 Tuesday 7:00PM Away Mountain Pointe (L) 47-49 18 - 4    
    01/24 Thursday 7:00PM Away Mountain View (W) 43-38 19 - 4    
    01/25 Friday 7:00PM Home Skyline (W) 80-59 20 - 4    
    01/29 Tuesday 7:00PM Home Mountain Pointe (W) 71-63 21 - 4    
    01/31 Thursday 7:00PM Home Nogales (W) 69-58 22 - 4    
    02/01 Friday 7:00PM Home Marcos de Niza (W) 66-63 23 - 4    
    02/06 Wednesday 5:45PM Chaparral HS Mountain Pointe (W) 53-51 24 - 4    
    02/08 Friday 7:30PM Chaparral HS Pinnacle (L) 73-76 24 - 5    
    02/16 Saturday 7:00PM Mesa Dobson (W) 68-64 25 - 5    
    02/19 Tuesday 2:30PM ASU Desert Mountain (L) 51-64 25 - 6    

Mesa  Game Recaps - Video


Videos produced by Team Video Coordinator Joshua Schwartz (Jiggy Productions)

Mesa-Dobson   February 16, 2013

Henderson, Allen, defense send Mesa past Dobson and into quarterfinals
By Al Bravo, Special to Tribune

With a little inspiration and a renewed focus after halftime, fourth-seed Mesa erased a lackluster first half against a dangerous city rival.

Sophomore Jalen Jenkins had 25 points, 15 in the second half, as the Jackrabbits pulled away from No. 13 Dobson for a 68-54 win Saturday night in the round of 16 of the boys Division I state basketball tournament.

With Saturday’s win, Mesa advances to the 2:30 p.m. quarterfinal game against No. 5 Desert Mountain on Tuesday at Wells Fargo Arena.

The Jackrabbits failed to reach the playoffs last season after a run to the semifinals in 2011.

“Before the game we watched some inspirational videos,” Jenkins said. “We were mentally focused, he told me we had to step everything up. I tried to take leadership out there. I’m young, I’m just learning but we’ve learned a lot since last year.”

The Jackrabbits used superior defense to keep the game low scoring and neutralize the Mustangs’ big guns. Dobson's Jaron Hopkins had nine points - five in the first three quarters - and Ryan Richardson had seven, all in the second half. Both ended up fouling out and could not rally Dobson as they did in a first-round win over Highland.

“I think our guys did a great job, team defense the whole night,” Mesa coach Shane Burcar said. “We couldn’t shoot in the first half but they only had 17 so we had a three-point lead. But we carried that into the second half.”

Instead, Mesa played its methodical game, trying to get the ball inside to 6-foot-10 Isaac Allen. The Jackrabbits (25-5) couldn’t get their shots to fall in the first half but with its stifling defense – and a late three by reserve Kale Abbott – had a 20-17 lead at the break.

“Second half we started making shots, change of pace worked to our advantage,” Burcar said. “They missed shots that they normally make but our guys stepped up.”

Christian Harris hit a pair of baskets in the first 75 seconds of the second half to set the tone. D.J. Henderson began his second-half run with a long three with 4:29 left in the third quarter and all of a sudden Mesa had a 28-17 lead. Henderson finished with 19 points, all in the second half, including 10 of 12 from the line in the final two minutes to help seal it.

“During halftime, everyone was focused,” Jenkins said. “We took good shots in the first half but we weren’t making them so we came out in the second half, put up some shots and came out ready to play.”

For Dobson (18-12), Kodi Justice tried to pick up the slack, finishing the night with 21 points but it wasn’t enough against the quick, opportunistic Jackrabbits.

“In the third quarter, we left their shooters (open),” Dobson coach Rick McConnell said. “We did a good job in the first half of not leaving their shooters and that was the difference in the game. They stretched it out and we just had to scramble the rest of the way.”

Jenkins took it the basket twice in opening minutes of the fourth quarter against Hopkins to keep Mesa in control.

“Jalen can get to the rim because they've got to guard the other guys,” Burcar said.

The "other guys" include Allen, who finished with 16 rebounds, and Harris, who hit 3-pointers from either side of the perimeter in the pivotal third quarter.

“A lot of people think we are delaying but we’re not, we’re using our athletic ability, our skills, our big guys to our advantage,” Burcar said.

Mesa-Mountain View   January 10, 2013

Mesa boys basketball pushes pace to beat Mountain View
By Kyle Odegard, East Valley Tribune

Mesa boys basketball coach Shane Burcar prefers his team use a controlled chaos to be effective.

For a game and a half, there was too much of an emphasis on control.

The top-ranked Jackrabbits returned to their free-wheeling ways in the third quarter on Thursday night, propelling them to a 61-50 victory over Mountain View in a Division I contest at Mesa.

Mesa (15-3) scored 22 points in the quarter after averaging only 11.6 in the previous six, which included a 49-47 loss to No. 2 Desert Mountain on Tuesday. Christian Harris hit three 3-pointers and D.J. Henderson had five points in the eight-minute stretch as Mesa pushed a five-point halftime lead to 12. Mountain View wouldn’t get closer than seven the rest of the way.

“Since yesterday we’ve been telling the guys, if you’ve got an open shot, shoot it,” Burcar said. “D.J., Christian, if those guys have open shots — I don’t care if it’s off the first pass or the eighth pass — I want them to shoot it.”

Henderson finished with 16 points and four steals while Harris added 13 points, all in the second half.

Henderson hit a 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter to give the Jackrabbits a 15-point lead, but Mountain View answered with an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to 48-41 with 6:06 remaining.

Mesa then held the ball for long stretches, forcing the Toros (10-7) to foul. The Jackrabbits hit 10 straight free throws at one point down the stretch to ice the win.

Mesa entered the game on a two-game losing streak after winning its previous 14. The Jackrabbits only had one day to prepare after the loss to the Wolves, but were happy to return to the court.

“We actually wanted to play the day after,” Harris said.

Mountain View star forward Payton Dastrup started slowly but finished with 15 points and three blocks. Colton Meo gave the team a lift with four 3-pointers, as the Toros were within four points after his third one midway through the third quarter.

However, the Jackrabbits kept on the gas and eventually pulled away.

“I don’t want them to be robotic, thinking, ‘Is coach going to be mad at me if I shoot this?’” Burcar said. “Play fast and smart. That’s how we want to play.”

Mesa-Desert Mountain   January 08, 2013

Desert Mountain survives No. 1 Mesa
By Richard Obert, azcentral

Junior point guard Rolando Rhymes took over the third quarter, and junior forward Mark Andrews made the big defensive stop at the end, helping fourth-ranked Scottsdale Desert Mountain survive No.1 and host Mesa 49-47 Tuesday night in a Division I boys basketball game.

Rhymes, who had to sit out all of last season after transferring from Phoenix St. Mary’s, hit two 3-pointers to start the second quarter, giving Desert Mountain a 17-10 lead.

With 6-foot-10 junior center Isaac Allen making it difficult to score on inside, Desert Mountain (13-2) scored just one more point in the final 6:25 of the half.

But, in the third quarter, Rhymes dribbled past Allen and others in transition, triggering a 16-6 run and giving Desert Mountain a 34-28 lead with a less than three minutes left. Rhymes, who scored 23 points, also had two assists in the pivotal period.

“When he gets in the open floor, that is when he is at his best,” Desert Mountain coach Todd Fazio said. “They were taking away our shooters. They were face-guarding the corners. They really didn’t have any help on the dribble, and he’s really good at penetrating. He didn’t have anyone to kick it to like he normally does. He had to make shots.”

Desert Mouintain’s best shooter, Diego Magana, was held scoreless. But Desert Mountain found others to help out.

Andrews, Desert Mountain’s biggest player at 6-6, was a beast in the block during critical times early and late in the game.

He made it tough for Allen to get off a good shot at the end, blocking him out and grabbing the rebound as time ran out.

A few times in the third quarter, Rhymes dribbled past Allen for lay-ups. Allen, who has made major improvements since his freshman year, had 15 points for Mesa (14-3). He had three straight dunks to end the first quarter and early in the second quarter.

Allen once was called for goal-tending on Will Goff’s shot in the final quarter.

“Their transition defense, we noticed in the first half, was a little weak,” Rhymes said. “They like to crash boards. But if we get out on the break, we are able to get a lot of easy shots.”

Mesa had a chance at the end after Andrews missed the front end of a one-and-one with 20 seconds left and Desert Mountain leading by two points. Desert Mountain had a foul to give before Mesa would go to the line. It took one with 12 seconds left.

Desert Mountain, especially Andrews, was waiting for Allen to try to make a shot close to the basket at the end.

“I thought Isaac was good offensively, but we didn’t stop Rhymes,” Mesa coach Shane Burcar said. “We didn’t pass the ball. We scored 47 points. That’s not getting it done. We have to pass the ball better and make plays.”

Mesa-Dobson   December 13, 2012

Balance again key as No. 2 Mesa boys hoops drops No. 6 Dobson
By Kyle Odegard, Tribune

The Mesa and Dobson boys basketball teams may have the best collections of elite talent in the state.

The second-ranked Jackrabbits put it to good use on Thursday night, but the Mustangs must go back to the drawing board.

Mesa used its depth and balance to control the game, picking up a 57-40 win over the No. 6 Mustangs in a Division I matchup on Thursday night at Mesa High.

D.J. Henderson had 15 points, Dan Richards 14 and Isaac Allen added 12 points and 11 rebounds as Mesa shrugged off a slow start to secure the win. The Jackrabbits trailed by five points with 3:28 left in the first quarter but went on a 35-8 run to take a 22-point lead early in the third quarter.

Dobson pulled to within five points with 4:25 remaining, but the Jackrabbits scored the final 12 points to secure the the win.

The game had the atmosphere of a playoff contest with a packed gym and a television audience. It was a matchup of the Tribune’s top-two ranked preseason teams.

“We were hyped for this game for four days,” Allen said. “We started off way too excited because we just wanted to blow them out of the water. But we settled down after halftime and did really good.”

While the pace was frenetic and the game was sloppy, Mesa did a much better job of getting quality looks.

Dobson has a pair of players — Kodi Justice and Jaron Hopkins — who are committed to Pac-12 programs, but there was no cohesion in the half court.

Hopkins shot 5-of-22 from the field and 5-of-12 from the free throw line, finishing with 15 points. Justice was 2-of-11 from the field, including 1-of-10 from behind the 3-point line, for only five points.

“We’ve really struggled with trying to be patient and not force shots, and sometimes it’s on the ridiculous end,” Dobson coach Rick McConnell said. “We’re not really sure what else we can do, so we just take the hardest shot we can find.”

When Hopkins and Ryan Richardson transferred to Dobson in the summer to join Justice, the Mustangs were immediately elevated to one of the main title contenders. However, this is a second straight humbling loss after getting beaten by Corona del Sol on Friday.

Justice missed the first seven games of the year with a foot fracture and is still rounding into shape, but the bigger concern is the lack of offensive chemistry.

“There’s a huge art to finding the open guy and making other people better,” McConnell said. “We really just need to calm down. Boy, oh, boy. We didn’t shoot it well at all, but shooting has so much to do with delivering the ball to people right on time and in rhythm. That’s the key to shooting...I think we can do it, but in the last two games we’ve just gotten wild and wilder.”

Mesa has now won nine straight games after an season-opening loss to Hamilton, and the scoring balance has been a big key. Henderson leads the way with 16.7 points per game and every other starter averages at least 8.0 points per contest.

“That’s the thing about our team,” Mesa coach Shane Burcar said. “D.J., a lot of people think he’s our best player, and he probably is. Last week he shot (only) eight and nine times. That’s unheard of. But he doesn’t care. He’s making the extra pass. That’s where we’re at with our depth and talent. It’s about the team.”

Mesa High boys hoops run winning streak to 9, whack Dobson
By Les Willsey, AIA365

 Dobson boys basketball coach Rick McConnell hopes his team learned a lesson Thursday night after absorbing a 57-40 loss to sister-school Mesa High at Jackrabbit Gym.

The loss had a lot to do with a one attribute more than it did the truck load of missed shots.

"We've really struggled with trying to be patient," McConnell said. "We force up too many shots. Sometimes it borders on ridiculous. We need to throw that extra pass.... If it isn't obvious to us tonight, I don't know when it will be."

Mesa's patience was certainly a notch or two better than Dobson's and after a couple of 3-pointers by Mesa guard D.J. Henderson near the end of the first quarter put the Jackrabbits ahead, they never trailed again. Patience helped Mesa post four players with between nine and 15 points. And to a great degree aided a better shooting percentage that painted the difference in the outcome.

Mesa has won nine consecutive games after opening the season with a loss to Hamilton. Dobson fell to 7-3, suffering a second straight loss. As individually talented as the Mustangs are, they must work toward better shot selection to make the abilities of Jaron Hopkins, Ryan Richardson and recently returned Kodi Justice as effective as the pundits and McConnell believe they will be. All three had tough nights shooting -- Hopkins was 5-for-22, Richardson 3-for-11 and Justice 2-for-14.

Mesa, which has received balanced scoring pretty much all season, got that again Thursday evening. Henderson finished with 15 points, Dan Richards had 14, center Isaac Allen added 12 and Christian Harris chipped in with nine - seven in the first half. The Jackrabbits possessions were often lengthier than Dobson's as the Mustangs were content launching the first open look they had. Most of those were perimeter shots. There was a reluctance to take the ball to the basket with the 6-foot-10 Allen guarding the paint.

Dobson led most of the first quarter, but Henderson's threes late in the period put Mesa up, 14-13, heading to the second period. Cold shooting and Mesa's ability to score from all over the foor in the second quarter positioned the game for a blowout. Mesa outscored Dobson 22-6 in the second period and the halftime stats verified Mesa's 36-19 lead. Dobson was 7-for-31 from the field (2-for-18 in the second quarter); Mesa made 13-of-27 shots (7-of-13 in the second).

"We knew at half they'd come out and give us a run," Mesa coach Shane Burcar said. "I kind of thought we might start slow because the kids were so hyped for this game. Those shots DJ hit in the first quarter were huge. Gave us confidence and got us going."

Dobson did make a run in the third. The Mustangs trailed by as many as 18, but whittled the lead to 43-36 after three period. Mesa didn't take as good a care of the ball in the second half (12 turnovers compared to 6 in the first half) and the third quarter was the best of the night for Hopkins, who scored eight of his team-high 15 points in that stanza. A Hopkins free throw and put back by Dobson post Brian Nichols pulled the Mustangs within 45-40 with 4:20 left. It was lights out for Dobson from there on. Dobson was outscored 12-0 to the finish and the game was essentially over with 1:58 to go after a three-point play by Felipe Velazco. Five Mesa players scored in the game-finishing run.

Burcar had high praise for Allen and Richards -- Allen for disciplined play and game-plan execution the last two games and Richards for the unsung quality he's brought to the floor every night.

Mesa-Red Mountain   November 29, 2012

Mesa tops Red Mountain for fifth win of the season
Mesa (5-1) hosted Red Mountain (5-2) in their first of two meetings this season. After getting off to a sluggish start and trailing 25-22 at the half, the Jackrabbits came out scorching in the 2nd behind the hot shooting of Junior guard Christian Harris. Harris hit five 3-pointers and led the Jackrabbits with 17 points.

Balance, balance, balance has been the key for the Jackrabbits this season as they have had four different players lead them in scoring their first six games. Senior DJ Henderson had 12 (10 in the second half), Isaac Allen had yet another double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, Jalen Jenkins had 10 points and 6 assists, while Felipe Velazco put the game on ice with a two-handed monster slam accompanied with a foul. Senior Jordan Thomas took a key charge early in the game on Red Mountain's star player, Travis Meeker, to give him his second foul in the first half and really changed the flow of the game. Senior Dan Richards as well as sophomore Sumeet Khara held Meeker to 2 field goals and 14 points below his season average. Mesa closed the game out at the free throw line with the final being 62-50. There is no time to rest, as Mesa travels to Phoenix to play Camelback on Friday 11/30.

Mesa's JV team has started out 2-0, with back to back double-digit victories after defeating Red Mountain 60-48 last night. Kale Abbott led all scorers with 17, while Sumeet Khara had 15, Andres Gurrola with 12, and Cameron Washburn finished with 9.

Mesa's Freshmen team is also 2-0 after a beating Red Mountain 51-49. Darius Goudeau and David Cummard led the Jackrabbits in scoring.

Mesa-McClintock   November 27, 2012

Jackrabbits use balanced attack to defeat McClintock

Mesa jumped out to a 16-0 lead, sparked by a Jalen Jenkins Tomahawk dunk in the middle of the lane and followed by back to back three pointers by Christian Harris and DJ Henderson. Mesa went into halftime up 38-17, as Isaac Allen dominated the paint defensively. Mesa held a late 15 point lead, when McClintock hit a barrage of three pointers to make the score look closer than the game was. Final was 73-67.

DJ Henderson finished with 20, Christian Harris 15, Jalen Jenkins 15, and Isaac Allen had 8 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 blocks.

The Mesa JV won 66-55 and the Mesa Freshman won 61-24.

Fear the Hop Championship  ●  November 24, 2012

Felipe Velazco tip-in lifts Mesa boys hoops over Gilbert

In the season opener on Monday night, Mesa boys basketball forward Felipe Velazco missed a 3-pointer which would have beaten Hamilton.

On Saturday, he figured out a tip-in is an easier way to sink the game-winner.

Velazco tapped in an Isaac Allen miss with 12 seconds to go as the second-ranked Jackrabbits defeated No. 7 Gilbert, 51-50 in overtime, to win the Fear the Hop tournament at Mesa.

Gilbert point guard Anthony Bryant had a chance to win it for the Tigers but he missed a floater on the other end. Both teams finished the tournament 3-1.

“It was good to bounce back,” Velazco said. “I was just trying to make up for what I didn’t do the past couple of days.”

Without Christian Harris, Mesa would have never forced overtime. He only scored three points through the first three quarters but scored the final 10 of regulation — including a tying 3-pointer with 10 seconds left — to boost the Jackrabbits.

Dan Richards, D.J. Henderson and Allen also scored in spurts and it could be a common theme for Mesa, which has several different players capable of shouldering the scoring load on any given night.

“That’s exactly who we are,” Mesa coach Shane Burcar said. “To be honest, it depends on who the hot hand is. That’s who we go to.”

Conner Helvig had 17 points and gave Gilbert a 49-47 lead with a lay-up in overtime, but Mesa’s D.J. Henderson tied it up with two free throws with 45.5 seconds remaining.

Bryant hit one of two free throws to give the Tigers a 50-49 lead with 27.8 seconds left, which set up Velazco’s heroics.

The game was close throughout, as Mesa’s 27-21 lead with 6:34 left in the third quarter was the largest margin.

“Just a great game,” Burcar said.

Gilbert forward Spencer Nicolds broke his nose early in the first quarter and did not return.

Photos courtesy of J. Blitz Photography








Photos courtesy of Darren Eyring