Mountainside boys' depth too much for undermanned Aloha
Depth and senior leadership. The Mountainside boys basketball team has a lot of both, and they used it to defeat an undermanned Aloha team 88-38 Friday night, Jan. 14, at Aloha High School.
The Mavericks (8-3, 1-0) were led by Dezman Baker who finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds, but it was the collective work of the senior and his fellow upperclassmen Dimitri Cohen, Dylan Westlake, and Luke Russell, along with a seemingly endless group of contributors that proved to be too much for a Warriors team playing without some of its best talent.
"Absolutely, depth is one of our strengths," Cohen said. "We have a lot of guys who can step up, and we go so hard in practice, everyday everyone is getting better."
And due to a schedule littered with cancelations, the team's been doing a lot of practicing of late, with Friday's game being just their second in more than three weeks.
Head coach Dustin Hewitt said he would prefer it not to be the case, but despite the lack of competition the team's worked hard in practice and that work showed on the court against Aloha (6-5, 0-2).
"We couldn't get in a flow early, but once we did it looked pretty good," Hewitt said. "Aside from the Summit game on Monday, we haven't played in like three weeks, but practices have been really good and we saw that in how we played tonight."
Baker was equally impressed with his team but added that with all the cancelations and craziness going on around them with the schedule and school complications, it was just nice to get on the court and see his guys enjoying playing the game.
"It was just good to be back together, especially with everything going on," Baker said. "It was cool to see our guys play happy, share the ball and do what we do."
What they did was dominate. Aloha hung around for much of the first quarter thanks in part to the sharp shooting of Dawson Cowlthorp who scored six of the Warriors' first 10 points, but also due to Mountainside's sloppy play. Yet, the Mavericks kicked things into gear over the last couple of minutes of the opening stanza, and when Baker scored five straight to end the quarter, the visitors led 24-10 and the rout was on.
"I was proud of our guys because when the other team is missing players it's easy to get selfish and try to get your own," Hewitt said. "But we were really unselfish and did a lot of things well."
One guy who did "get his," was standout freshman Brayden Boe. The 6-foot-3 guard scored 16 points, which included two three-pointers, but more importantly he looked the part and seemed to seamlessly fit-in with the upperclassmen who've grown up in the Maverick program.
Cohen wasn't surprised by the freshman's performance and said he's been working with the group since and prior to entering school this past fall.
"We played a bunch of three-on-threes in a gym during quarantine last year and I think that helped us develop chemistry," Cohen said.
In all, Mountainside had four players score in double-digits and eight players score altogether. In addition to Baker and Boe, Cohen tallied 13 points and six rebounds, Westlake added eight, Daniel Porter had seven, and junior forward Jaylin Ormond scored a quick six with seven rebounds in limited time off the bench. It's that type of depth, along with the proper attitude, that has Baker, Cohen and Hewitt excited about where this team is, but also where it could go if they maintain the proper attitude.
"I think we're a really good team, we've just got to stay hungry and be the underdogs in every situation," Baker said. "When we take the court we know we can't be comfortable. We have to work hard and play together, no matter who we're playing. If we do that, I think we can win some games."
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