Dobson takes rematch against Mesa, clinches region crown
February 8, 2024 by Ben Stapley, AZPreps365
Dobson learned a valuable lesson two weeks ago in a home loss to Mesa. Thursday night the Mustangs used it to their advantage in a rematch with the same Jackrabbit team, and the result was a 48-31 victory and the 6A East Valley Region Crown to end the regular season.
Ahdiayh Chee led visiting Dobson with 13 points and seven rebounds. After going scoreless in the first half, Chee led a 17-4 run in the third quarter that put Dobson in control, as Mesa never got closer than nine points the rest of the game.
“The first time we played, Mesa really humbled us,” Chee said of the first meeting with Mesa, a 46-43 loss.
“We kind of thought we would just blow by them, but they showed us wrong. Tonight we knew we had to give it our all.”
Dobson’s Jaziah Billey hits an open jumper in 1st quarter action at Mesa High. The 6A East Valley Region title is on the line tonight as Dobson holds a 12-11 lead after 1 quarter pic.twitter.com/nIhtKLmhnY— Ben Stapley (@AZpreps365Ben) February 9, 2024
Amya Malone scored 11 points for the Mustangs, while Jaziah Billey and Isabella Jensen each added seven.
The key for Dobson (19-7) was disrupting Mesa’s offense for much of the game. Mesa's Tilley Cummard led the 'Rabbits with eight points, while leading scorer Amya Mekele was held to seven.
Points were scarce for both teams in the first half, as the Mustangs took a 19-15 lead into halftime. In addition to Chee's strong second half, Amya Malone was the catalyst in Dobson's third quarter run, hitting a three-pointer early, before another three-point play after getting fouled on a layup one minute later gave the Mustangs a 30-15 lead.
Mesa (15-11) battled back, closing the gap to nine (36-27) when Cummard drained a three-point shot at the end of the third quarter. Chee scored seven in the fourth quarter, while Dobson's defense continued to frustrate Mesa's offense.
"We couldn't get into a rhythm on offense," Mesa coach Katie Fonseca said. "We missed a lot of free throws and that didn't help, but we had a gameplan offensively and Dobson took us out of it."
Dobson entered the game ranked 14th in the Open Division power rankings, and finished 9-1 in region play. In its eight games excluding Mesa, the Mustangs had a 30 point average margin of victory.
The Jackrabbits were 24th in the Open rankings. Final brackets will be revealed this weekend.
Ben Stapley is a staff writer for AZPreps365. For human-interest story ideas and related high-school sports news, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 480 295-9125