Did Mesa High’s Aaron Fuller get a bigger piece of Mesa Mountain View’s Brendon Lavender’s elbow? Or did Lavender get more of Fuller’s teeth?
Hard to say. But both made visits to the doctor/orthodontist the past couple of days to make sure all is well for Wednesday’s first round of the 5A-I state basketball tournament.
With 4:54 left in Mountain View’s 47-39 East Valley Region tournament championship victory over Mesa, Fuller swatted away a Lavender shot as Lavender drove the lane.
Lavender went down hard with a bloody elbow earned from contact with Fuller’s teeth and braces — and both players headed to their benches.
Fuller ended up heading to the locker room and did not return. Lavender’s bloodied elbow was taped and he returned, helping the Toros to the win.
The game was the most physical of the three the teams played this season.
And the aftermath bore that out?
“Aaron went to a specialist (Monday),” Mesa coach Shane Burcar said. “He had eight teeth pushed back. He needed to find out what’s going on in there. I’m still waiting to find out what they said.
“I’m as anxious as anybody.”
Mountain View coach Gary Ernst said the Toros’ trainer and medical staff recommended Lavender get a tetanus shot, which he did, as well as antibiotics. Lavender still had some swelling Monday.
“That’s the one thing you’re afraid of in a game like that,” Ernst said. “You don’t want anyone to get hurt. You’re playing for pride against one of your biggest rivals and for the region championship. But there was nothing to be gained from the game as it turned out. No power points. No state berth.”
Ernst said Fuller sent Lavender a picture of his mouth via cell phone. Lavender told Ernst it wasn’t pretty.
Burcar also lost guard Keelan Johnson for the second half with a sprained ankle. Johnson was held out of Monday’s practice, but is good to go on Wednesday against Chandler Basha in the first round game at Mesa High.
The main reason the East Valley region tournament is still played is that most region basketball tournaments are money makers for the schools and districts. Judging by the crowd Saturday at Jackrabbit Gym, money was made by the region.
Mesa Red Mountain and Mesa Dobson played a very meaningless third-place game prior to the Toros’ and Jackrabbits’ finale. Dobson was eliminated from state tournament consideration Thursday when it lost to Mesa in the region semifinals. Red Mountain, despite losing to Mountain View, still had secured a state berth via power ranking. Both schools played the third-place game using mostly reserves, Red Mountain to protect its frontline players.
Baseball and softball open play on Wednesday with local tournaments.
In baseball, a number of East Valley and Scottsdale schools take part in the Scottsdale Quarterback Club tourney which takes place intermittently through the finals on March 1. Phoenix Brophy hosts its annual Adam Donnefield tournament Wednesday through Monday. Mesa Westwood and Tempe Corona del Sol co-host a tournament that opens Friday at those schools and concludes on March 1. Phoenix Desert Vista hosts its 10th annual tournament Friday, Saturday and March 1. Tempe McClintock hosts the McClintock Classic Friday and Saturday, and on March 1.
In softball, the Lion Country Classic hosted by Red Mountain begins Wednesday and runs through Saturday at Red Mountain Park. Mesa Dobson and Tempe Marcos de Niza play host to the Dobson-Marcos tournament, which also runs Wednesday through Saturday. The finals are Saturday at Marcos de Niza.