By: Adam Stites, Special for azcentral sports | February 14, 2017
The top-seeded Gilbert Mesquite girls basketball team looked the part Tuesday night in the first round of the 5A Conference state tournament, blowing out Marana Mountain View, 93-31.
A dominating victory is nothing new for Mesquite, which has won 13 consecutive games by at least 20 points. In the past nine games, Mesquite has scored at least 80 points and held its opponent under 40 points. So a first-round matchup against No. 16-seed Mountain View was treated as a tune-up.
“When you play teams that perhaps aren’t as skilled as you, you have the tendency to want to reach and kick your feet, and play a little bit more sloppy on defense,” Mesquite coach Candice Gonzales said. “We did that a little bit tonight, so I think that’s one thing that we’ve got to make sure, in games like this, that we’re not doing. We’ve got to play more sound and solid so that we’re ready when those better teams come out.”
If there were signs of sloppiness, it didn’t slow Mesquite from dominating. Mesquite jumped out to a 27-6 lead in the first quarter and a 54-14 lead at halftime.
“We know we just have to come out and play every game like it’s the championship game,” Mesquite junior Lindsey Vanallen said. “We have to come out and make sure that we’re ready for the championship game when we play better teams. We’re trying to work on our plays and our defense to make sure that we’re ready and prepared for that.”
Leading the way, Vanallen and fellow junior Shaylee Gonzales dropped 33 points and 25 points, respectively.
“Shaylee got a triple-double, and I don’t even think she played in the fourth quarter, and Lindsey’s a scoring machine,” Candice Gonzales said of the pair. “They just do what they do. They just go out there and play, regardless of the situation. They can get their numbers, regardless of what situation you put them in.”
Mesquite improved to 28-1. The sole blemish was a 50-37 loss to Chandler Seton Catholic in November.
With the victory, Mesquite advances to face No. 9-seed Oro Valley Ironwood Ridge at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Ironwood Ridge defeated No. 8-seed Maricopa 52-46 in the first round Tuesday.
Ironwood Ridge lost to Mesquite 74-50 in December, with Gonzales and Vanallen combining for more than 60 points.
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