Mountain View's Torson tops himself

Guard enters regional game on scoring hot streak

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

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Zach Torson figured he had the game of his life Saturday, helping the Mountain View boys basketball team advance to regionals.

Heck, it turned out, it was not even his best game of the three-day weekend.

Torson lit up league-rival Prairie for 42 points Saturday in a winner-to-regionals, loser-out, all-on-the-line contest.

Then, in a seeding game for regionals on Monday, Torson topped himself with 43 points in a win over Foss.

“I was at a loss of words. I never thought I’d have a 40-point game,” Torson said. “Having two in a row in two huge games was pretty cool.”

Torson and the Thunder will try to win their third in a row Friday night in a Class 3A regional matchup. Mountain View takes on Seattle Prep at 8 p.m. at Bellevue College, with the winner advancing to the state tournament at the Tacoma Dome.

Of course, scoring 85 points in two games does not go under the radar. The Thunder are expecting Torson, a 6-2 senior guard, to get a lot of attention from Seattle Prep defenders.

“I’ve really been trying to get my teammates ready this week during practice,” Torson said. “I know I’m going to get face-guarded the whole game. I know my teammates can do it.”

To get to this position, the Thunder had to win last weekend. They turned to Torson to lead the way.

“I just remember I went to the line a bunch, I was getting a lot of contact,” Torson said of that first 40 effort. “I’d been shooting free throws pretty well. It’s a given two points right now when I get to the line.”

Torson is not being cocky; just truthful. He went 16 of 17 from the line against Prairie that evening.

“I don’t want to settle for jumpers,” he said. “When you get to the hole, you want to finish the layups or get to the line.”

Torson was 11 of 21 from the floor, including 4 of 8 from 3-point range, and those 16 freebies for his 42 points. Mountain View beat the Falcons 85-69.

“We don’t really like those guys,” Torson acknowledged. “It was nice to do it against them. Given that it was the fourth time we played them, that made it a pretty big accomplishment.”

Torson, who averaged around 20 points per game this season, averaged 16 in the three previous games against Prairie and in one game was held to a season-low eight points.

The Monday game against Foss an 88-71 Mountain View victory was not as important as the Saturday contest. Win or lose, the Thunder were going to regionals.

But Torson struck again, anyway.

This day, Torson went 17 of 25 from the floor, made three 3-pointers, and was 6 of 6 from the line.

“I got all the guys on the bench telling me how many points I had,” Torson said. “I didn’t want to think about it.”

Think about this, then: Torson had 24 and 19 points in the first two games of the Class 3A bi-district tournament, giving him 128 for the four games. That broke a 37-year-old record. Clint Richardson of O’Dea scored 127 in 1975.

The numbers mean more to Torson because the Thunder are among the final 16 teams in the state.

“Me and Ryan (Johnson) and Rico (Bolivar) have always had this goal since the seventh and eighth grade,” Torson said. “We set as a goal, us three, to do it. We’re not done yet. We hope to make it to the dome and go from there.”