Dobson falls to Churchill (Ore.) in Basketball Challenge

Dobson falls to Churchill (Ore.) in Basketball Challenge


Dobson falls to Churchill (Ore.) in Basketball Challenge


With two new additions who are the team’s leading scorers and another key player coming back from a broken foot, Mesa Dobson still is finding itself.

But coach Rick McConnell believes another loss to a tough out-of-state team, this time a 68-53 setback Friday to Eugene (Ore.) Churchill (8-1), in the Basketball Challenge at Mountain View will end up being beneficial in February.

Dobson, 1-2 in the showcase, lost its first game to Pacific Hills (Calif.) 74-69, before bouncing back with a 79-58 rout of Tucson Salpointe Catholic on Thursday.

It finishes the showcase Saturday at 2:30 against Toledo (Ohio) St. John’s Jesuit.

“We’ve made some progress,” McConnell said. “I think they’re getting better.”

Dobson relied heavily Friday on the scoring of transfers Jaron Hopkins (19 points) and Ryan Richards (18). The showcase has been good for junior guard Kodi Justice, who recently returned from a broken foot. Justice is trying to work himself into playing shape. He made only one of seven shots, one for five from behind the 3-point arce, Friday.

Justice was playing well before the injury. McConnell expects Justice will get back into his normal rhythm on the floor soon.

“He tried to do a lot of good things for us,” McConnell said. “He’s going to get better.”

Dobson (10-5) has had a difficult schedule with losses to defending Division I champion Tempe Corona del Sol and Mesa and a 14-point win over an improved Gilbert Highland team.

“I just think we need to cut down on mistakes we’re making,” McConnell said. “You don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot. If they’re going to beat you, you want to make it hard for them.”

Dobson had 18 turnovers against Churchill, a combined 12 from Hopkins and Richardson.

Deshone Brooks hit 11 of 16 shots, including three of six 3-pointers, and scored 27 points to lead Churchill, which improved to 2-1 in the showcase. Churchill lost its first game this season Thursday, 73-67, to Los Angeles Pacific Hills (8-2), which was playing Salpointe later Friday.

Churchill outrebounded Dobson 32-22.

In other games Friday:

Phoenix Desert Vista lost to San Diego Hoover 63-61. It was Desert Vista’s first loss in the showcase. It beat Lexington (S.C.) by nine points and Mesa Red Mountain in overtime by five points.

Mercer Island (Wash.) dropped Gilbert to 1-2 with a 50-45 win.

Red Mountain won its first game in the showcase, beating Lexington 50-48.


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