Sometimes to experience the most glorious of sunrises you must endure the darkest of nights.
That’s a little like what Mountain View boys basketball coach J.C. Alexander is going through this season.
Alexander described the first two weeks of practices with this year’s Thunder squad as “the best two weeks of my five years at Mountain View.”
And the reason for that surprised even him.
“Shockingly, I think it’s COVID,” the coach said. “That COVID year that we had last year where it was a shortened season. It was short and fast, and we had to kind of dumb-down what we wanted to do, just enough to be able to have something out there. And the kids have been able to carry over from all that stuff and have really been able to add onto it these first two weeks.”
The Thunder, with six returning players with varsity experience, got to show off how they have grown and improved in their season opener on Tuesday at Fort Vancouver.
Mountain View was able to use stifling defense and a balanced scoring attack to blow the game open with a big third quarter en route to a 73-46 win over the Trappers.
Mountain View outscored Fort 24-6 in the third quarter to take a 32-point lead after leading 39-25 at halftime.
“I was impressed myself,” Alexander said. “They really responded. They set some really high goals tonight, especially on the defensive end, and we hit all of them.”
Isaiah Vargas led the Thunder with 15 points and Jacob Vargas added 10, as every player on the roster got into the game and scored.
“Early on in the season, we’re trying to find roles and find where people fit in and do best,” Alexander said. “Typically toward the end of the year, I’ll shorten my bench and get into an eight-man rotation. But early on, we like to get everyone involved to see what we can do and where we’re at.”
Fort was led by 11 points from Ahron Melendez and 10 points each from Kaeleb Cvitkovich and Dean Cardena.
The scene at Fort Vancouver looked close to normal, apart from fans wearing masks. But there was no capacity limitations, and players were no longer required to wear masks while play.
That came as a big relief to players like Vargas.
“It felt good,” Vargas said. “First game back, getting back into it, it felt good.”
Alexander added: “They love it. Getting back to basketball, getting back to some normalcy, whatever that looks like. We got fans in the stands, no masks for players, it’s so much better. Now, I just wish coaches could take them off.”
MOUNTAIN VIEW 73, FORT VANCOUVER 46
MOUNTAIN VIEW (1-0) — Jacob Martin 10, Isaiah Vargas 15, Aiden Nicholson 4, Mahkahri Bolds 8, Noah Morishige 4, Daniel Doley 7, Madden Wilson 6, Michael Tauscher 4, Brandon Getch 2, Jack Johnson 2, Ledarius Washington 2, Davis Tauscher 9. Totals 29 (5) 10-14 73.
FORT VANCOUVER (0-1) — Liam Cvitkovich 6, Ahron Melendez 11, Graiden Suka 0, Kaeleb Cvitkovich 10, Nebil Afeworki 0, Hunter Boyce 0, David Smith-Myles 6, Antonio Barajas 3, Dean Cadena 10, Kenan Weinmaster 0. Totals 15 (4) 12-16 46.
Mtn. View 15 24 24 10—73
JV — Mountain View 69-12.