Complete team effort helps Mesa Basketball defeat Imperial Valley

Thomas Frey, Sports Editor

The Mesa men’s basketball team defeated Imperial Valley college 70-63 at Mesa College on Friday, Feb. 7.

Mesa had a big lead but it started to shrink as the game came to a close. UP by three, Mesa was being smart and was using most of the shot-clock when Novian Cherry hit a huge shot to pretty much seal the game. “I wanted to win. I know we needed a bucket,” said Cherry who finished with 13 points.

“It was a good win for us,” said coach Ed Helscher, “Everybody came through at sometime or another, it was really a team effort.”

Starting forward Darreon Tolliver played great, “On defense the key was keeping the big man off the glass. This game I played hard and stopped them,” said Tolliver. He is averaging 14.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per game after finishing with 17 points, 18 rebounds, five of which were offensive rebounds, and three blocks.

“We started off getting everybody else the ball. I wanted to get my teammates the ball so everybody could be apart of the win,” said Cherry.

Mesa made 46.3% of their shots which is much higher than their conference average of 37.3%.

“Our ability to keep getting offensive rebounds and scoring on inside moves helped us,” said Helscher. Mesa broke an eight game losing streak that started at Imperial Valley last  month and improved to 10-13.

Cherry has received a number of offers and committed to Western Kentucky. Cherry who is currently averaging 22 points per game. “The coaches made me feel comfortable, Coach Forrest came out and we spoke about how I can be a contribution to the team right away next year,” said Cherry. He choose Western Kentucky overs schools like Washington State, Arizona State, University of Texas El-Paso and University of California Santa Barbara among others.

Tolliver and Cherry weren’t the only players on the team who were key for this game. Vincent Petties-Wilson was the leading scorer for Mesa and finished with 22 points. Wilson was an incredible 3-4 on three pointers and is averaging 11.5 points per game on the season.

J.J. Coleman was also a key from the three point line. He made two of three and finished with 12 points.

Helping Tolliver rebounding was O’Neil Brauthigam who pulled down 11 rebounds and added four points. This is one of Brauthigam’s best games. 11 rebounds is a season high for him.

Five players hit double figures in either points or rebounds. When that many players have big games, it is hard to be defeated.

Mesa has one final home game on Feb.19 against Southwestern at 5 p.m. Cherry and Tolliver have both put up some high scoring games this season, Cherry hit 49 points while Tolliver has hit 31 points. This is one of the highest scoring teams in the state, anything is possible and the games are exciting.