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Boys Basketball: Stutler, Wildcats stay on prowl

MOUNTAIN VIEW CLAIMS FOURTH STRAIGHT WIN

AS SENIOR SWINGMAN NETS GAME-HIGH 16 POINTS

By STEVE FRANZELLO

Mountain View senior Mason Stutler picked a great time to find his shooting touch in last night’s 52–35 Commonwealth District victory at Massaponax.

The hardworking swingman drained a pair of 3-point baskets in a one-minute span of the third quarter and the visiting Wildcats went on a 20–6 run to break open a close game.

The win was the fourth straight for Mountain View (11–5 overall, 8–3 in the district) and pulled the Wildcats into a tie for second place with idle Brooke Point.

Both teams trail district pacesetter North Stafford by one game in the loss column.

Last night’s victory also helped ease the sting of a 45–44 loss to Massaponax back in early December.

“We can’t take anybody lightly this year and we can’t have any mental mistakes,” said Stutler, who led all scorers with 16 points. “We’re still not in first place. We’re still not where we want to be.”

If they continue to perform the way they did this week, they just might get there before all is said and done.

On Tuesday, the Wildcats handed North Stafford just its second district loss of the season by using the same kind of aggressive defense and up-tempo offense it employed last night.

Against the Panthers, their active zone defense helped force 22 turnovers, including seven in the third quarter, when they took charge of the game’s momentum.

“The key for us is to get good stops on defense, rebound and execute on offense,” said senior DaeSean Hamilton, who scored 12 points and had four steals. “If we do that, we’re hard to beat.”

After a seesaw first half that ended with Massaponax (6–10, 3–8) putting together a late run to cut the Wildcats’ lead to 22–20, Mountain View coach Kevin Brown took the opportunity at the break to remind his team of what they needed to do.

“Coach told us we needed to buckle down and get some stops on defense, and also to cut down on our mental lapses,” Hamilton said.

The Wildcats put all of those elements together in the third quarter and the results were impressive.

Hamilton scored four straight points to spark the offensive spurt along with Stutler. Joe Wilson and Lucas Brown, who finished with eight points apiece, also contributed to the run.

By the end of the quarter the Wildcats had transformed their two-point halftime lead into a commanding 42–26 advantage and then kept the pressure on.

The Panthers were able to score only 15 points in the second half.

“Poor shot selection on our part didn’t help things,” said Massaponax coach Darren Hickman. “Also, when a team makes a run, you have to trust each other more. We need to play better as a team, not as individuals.”

Devon Black tallied nine points and Joey Foster and Trevon Jones eight each for the Panthers, who travel to Albemarle on Tuesday.

Mountain View hosts Freedom today before returning to district play against Orange on Friday.

    M. View 9 13 20 10 — 52

    Massaponax 13 7 6 9 — 35

    Scoring

    Mountain View (11–5, 8–3): Tyrus Mason 2, Xavier Fisher 0, DaeSean Hamilton 12, Ben Keller 2, Joe Wilson 8, Lucas Brown 8, Mason Stutler 16, Tyrell Mason 4. Totals: 22 4-9 52.

    Massaponax (6–10, 3–8): Aaron McFarland 3, Joey Foster 8, Trevon Jones 8, Patrick Martin Jr. 0, Nate Grosskopf 2, Charles Edwards 3, Ian Grosskopf 0, Devon Black 9, Logan Seacrist 2. Totals: 12 9-11 35.

    Three-point goals: Mountain View 4 (M. Stutler 4). Massaponax 2 (McFarland, Black).

Steve Franzello: 540/374-5440

sports@freelancestar.com

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