It was billed as the battle of big men, but it was a point guard who stole the show Thursday night at Basha High School in Chandler as the host Bears knocked off cross-town rival Hamilton 59-46 behind a game-high 27 points from Juron Hopkins.
The game featured some of the state’s most prominent post players in Arizona State bound Hamilton 6’11 senior Eric Jacobsen and Basha’s talented junior twin towers Torren Jones and Maurice Kirby, but early it was each teams’ backcourt which stole the spotlight.
The Huskies tied it up at 14 at the end of the first quarter on Michael Garcia’s running layup before the buzzer, but that only seemed to ignite Hopkins and his teammates. Basha’s pressure defense picked up the tempo in the second quarter, forcing turnovers and transition opportunities.
Basha spent much of the second quarter on the free throw line (6-11) and took a 29-23 lead into halftime behind Hopkins’ 13 first-half points. Jacobsen, on the hand, struggled against the more athletic Jones and Kirby and sat most of the second quarter after picking up his second foul on a blocking call on the baseline.
Basha picked up right where they left off, coming out of the half wtih Hopkins nailing a deep three pushing the margin to 13 in the final minutes of the quarter.
The Huskies tried to keep it close when senior guard Zach Alonzo closed the margin to ten on a long three, but in the end the combination of Hopkins’ offense and the Bears trapping full-court press was too much to overcome.
Jacobsen, who battled foul trouble most of the night, led Hamilton with just nine points.
Basha, who doesn’t have a single senior on their roster, improved to 16-2 and a perfect 4-0 at home.
With the loss, Hamilton drops to 12-4.