Desert Mountain falls to undefeated Millennium in season finale
February 9, 2024 by Quinton Pressley, Arizona State University
Quinton Pressley is an ASU Cronkite School of Journalism student assigned to cover Desert Mountain High School for AZPreps365.com
On Thursday night, the Desert Mountain Wolves could not dig themselves out of the 16-point deficit they put themselves in the first half and came up short to Millennium, 63-54. This loss being Desert Mountain’s second in a row, solidifies their position at second place in the 5A Northeast Valley section with a record of 7-2.
To start off this highly anticipated match, Kalek House drew first blood with a pull-up three at the top of the key making it 3-0. The Tigers then gained momentum and ran rampant with a barrage of three pointers.
During this stretch, the Wolves could not get anything to go their way. They were struggling with shooting from behind the arc; which quickly led to them trailing by double-digits.
“We’ve got to understand that we don’t have to settle for threes all the time, you gotta try to get to the basket and shoot a few mid ranges, then you can extend your range,” said assistant coach Michael Bibby Jr.
With five seconds to go in the first half, Millennium had one more possession to strike. The Tigers moved the ball swiftly down the floor into team captain Cameron Homles’ hands as he threw up a one-legged prayer and drilled the three-pointer making it 34-18 at halftime.
Kalek, like clockwork, started off the second half like he did the first with a deep ball from long range. Slowly but surely the Wolves’ offense started to catch fire with sophomore Kaden House and freshman Javon Bardwell making some timely shots.
“We’ve got to start getting some stops, we’ve got to start moving the ball around, we started doing that and it started working,” said senior Reid Neuhausen.
Even with their offense clicking, Desert Mountain could not find a way to get a string of consecutive stops against the Tiger’s physical presence down low. Time and time again Kingston Tosi, who scored a team-high of 24 points, and Sabien Cain were able to dissect the Wolves’ defense from the perimeter and the post.
“We didn’t have backside a lot of the times … they killed us,” said Neuhausen.
Finally, when the game was thought to be over, the basketball genie answered the Wolves’ wishes and granted them stops when it mattered most. After a Kaden offensive rebound led to a Kalek layup, Desert Mountain was only down seven with under a minute to play.
The road warriors attempt of a comeback was put to rest after Holmes threw a hail mary pass to Cain from out of bounds to score a dagger layup. The buzzer rang crowning Millennium High School the victors in tonight's match, 63-54.
The Tigers, now 13-0, continue to triumph due to their stellar play on both sides of the ball. Kalek pointed out the struggles from playing behind the eight ball and how Millennium were able to run their sets because “they weren’t desperate for buckets.”
Nonetheless, the Wolves’ will look to bounce back next week during playoffs.
“Man, just lock in, it’s getting real, playoffs next week, know our personnel, watch film and study, and just be ready,” said Kalek.
The House twins and company are poised and motivated to knock out anyone who comes in their path come next Friday.