The Mountain View Mountain Lions have had a hard time finding a third scoring option all year behind Zach Carter and Abdul Hameed.
But Ricky Matty stepped up in the fourth, scoring 11 points in the quarter to key a 25-6 period by Mountain View, which enabled them to come from behind, winning 57-52 at Tucson High on Jan. 31.
The Mountain Lions had been outplayed for three quarters and found themselves trailing 46-32 entering the final eight minutes.
Matty opened the fourth with a three-pointer, followed by another quick score after a steal. After another shot from outside the arches, the Mountain Lions went on a 12-0 run, as Matty scored 10 points in the first two minutes.
A basket by Carter at the 3:50 mark gave the Mountain Lions the 49-47 lead.
Mountain View coach Mike Parillo said that slow starts have plagued the Mountain Lions (10-8) all year.
So what changed in the fourth?
“I thought we started playing with passion,” Parillo said. “We got a couple of steals and easy baskets. Matty made a couple of shots.”
Zach Carter was consistent all night, as the Mountain Lions big man finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds.
“Matty’s a good player who believed in himself, and he did it,” Carter said. “In the fourth quarter, we decided we didn’t want to lose.”
The Mountain Lions hurt themselves early, as they committed eight turnovers in the first period.
The Badgers came out ready to play, as they built a 15-11 lead. Tucson’s Marquis Seawater-Simmons scored nine of those 15, en route to a game-high 18 points.
Mountain View outscored Tucson 14-13 in the second quarter, as Hameed scored six of the first eight points. Brentyn Nymeyer came off the bench to score six more. They trailed at halftime, 28-25.
“Nymeyer made some shots to keep us in the game,” Parillo said.
With Carter getting double-teamed, the third quarter offense disappeared for the Mountain Lions, as they made only two of their 11 shots, and were outscored 18-7.
Parillo started playing mix and match with his bench, and aided by Matty, they triggered the fourth quarter comeback.
“When I subbed some kids in, we took off,” Parillo said.
Carter noticed a difference in the final eight minutes.
“We ran, hustled, and got into a zone,” he said. “And we did what we needed to do.”
The Mountain Lions ended the week and regular season play with wins over Sunnyside 61-40, Thursday, before defeating Sabino 58-52, on Friday.
Against Sunnyside, Hameed scored 25 points, while Carter added 13 points and 11 boards. Jacob Moeller came off the bench and grabbed 10 rebounds.
On Friday, in the season’s final tilt, Hameed led the Mountain Lions again with 24 points, while Carter scored 20.
In the new Division I regional playoffs, the Mountain Lions probably won’t qualify, despite winning six of their last seven games.