Mountain Vista’s boys basketball team showed why they are 12-1 this season on Jan. 17 as they outpaced Heritage, 82-60 in the Continental League opener for both schools.
“Mountain Vista is a good basketball team that is well coached and in the top 10 in the state,” Heritage coach Jerry Byleveld said after the game. “Our kids are young and, we battled hard, but we fell short tonight.”
The Golden Eagles forced their share of turnovers to trigger their fast-pace attack.
“The up-tempo game is our style and that has been for a number of years,” Mountain Vista coach Bob Wood said. “That style is why we are leading the state in scoring.”
Heritage (6-7) follows a Jan. 21 home league game against Legend with a league game Jan. 24 at Highlands Ranch and another Jan. 28 at Chaparral. Their next home game is Jan. 30 against Castle View.
Mountain Vista plays three home league games in a row. Following a Jan. 21 contest against Rock Canyon, the Golden Eagles host Littleton Jan. 24 and Regis Jan. 28. They then hit the road Jan. 31 at Douglas County.
After a 5-5 start to the Mountain Vista-Heritage game, the Golden Eagles aggressive defense and fact-pace attack generated 10 unanswered points to put Mountain Vista ahead for good.
The Golden Eagles pushed the ball up the court at full speed while defensively they used an aggressive, trapping system that puts a lot of pressure on the player with the ball. The system produced points as Mountain Vista extended the lead to 45-30 going into the final quarter and went on to win the game by 22.
“Mountain Vista always plays the fast-pace style which is faster than we usually play,” Byleveld said. “We try to simulate the style in practice but even then, it’s not like facing the real thing.”
Heritage junior Tom Skufka, the only Eagles player with varsity experience, said it was a tough game for his team but the goal is to learn from the battle with Mountain Vista.
“We played hard but just couldn’t seem to slow them down,” he said. “But we are a young team and this game is a way to learn more about that kind of system. We’ll keep working to improve and we’ll get it together to become a better basketball team.”
While Heritage played without any seniors, the Golden Eagles are a veteran team and Wood said he gets solid leadership from the eight seniors on his roster.
“They play hard and they play together,” he said. “We go to the boards and I like the fact the players are unselfish. Coming into tonight, we had six players averaging double figures in scoring. We made it to the Final Four last year and we’ll be working to get there again and go even further.”
Senior Jonathan Moore led the scoring for the Golden Eagles with 17 points in the win.
“This was an all-right game for me personally but I am just glad our team got the W,” he said. “Normally, I am probably best on defense but tonight was one of those nights it seemed every shot I took went through the hoop. That made it a fun night for me.”