Mountain View has had a penchant for dramatic finishes in recent days.
The latest, a 54-51 win against Prairie on Thursday, led Thunder boys basketball head coach JC Alexander to joke afterward, “I’m not sure how many more of these I can take.”
On the heels of a triple-overtime win over Class 4A Skyview on Tuesday, Mountain View secured an important 3A Greater St. Helens League road win that came down to the final Prairie possession.
Mountain View had the opportunity to ice the game at the free-throw line, but a Thunder miss on the front end of a one-and-one gave Prairie a chance to tie the game with three seconds left. Out of a timeout, the Falcons’ 3-point attempt was off target as the clock expired.
Mountain View (8-3, 3-0) won its sixth straight overall and kept pace with Kelso at the top of the 3A GSHL standings.
“Playing these close games really makes the team and the kids believe that when we get into a situation when it really, really matters to move on in playoffs, they’ve done it and they know exactly how to handle it,” Alexander said.
Isaiah Vargas scored all but two of his team-high 15 points in the second half and Michael Tauscher chipped in 13 points for the Thunder, which trailed for much of the first half against a scrappy Prairie squad.
Though both teams struggled to get on track offensively, as Prairie (4-5, 2-2) led 6-5 after one quarter, the Falcons had a clear leg up in the hustle plays — deflections, offensive rebounds and steals.
Baily Kousonsavath finished with 16 points to lead Prairie, while Hayden Rose and Talus Sather each collected nine points.
Prairie led 26-19 at halftime and maintained a lead into the third quarter, though after a Brendan Carter pushed Prairie’s lead to 31-23, Mountain View started to surge.
Vargas scored eight straight points for the Thunder, including a 3-pointer that gave the visitors a 34-33 lead, their first since the opening quarter.
“Obviously we got a few shots, which always helps, but I think it starts on the defensive side,” Alexander said. “We pride ourselves that (on) defense we’re going to play hard every night and give it everything we have. We love deflections, we started getting our hands on the ball and it’s what we weren’t doing in the first half. Things were coming real easy for Prairie, so we had to kind of disrupt them on defense.”
MOUNTAIN VIEW 54, PRAIRIE 51
MOUNTAIN VIEW — Jacob Martin 8, Isaiah Vargas 15, Aiden Nicholson 1, Mahkakri Bolds 0, Noah Morishige 0, Daniel Dolev 8, Madden Wilson 0, Michael Tauscher 13, David Tauscher 9. Totals 20 (6) 8-15 54.
PRAIRIE — Baily Kousonsavath 16, Tyson Davis 2, Hayden Rose 9, Brendan Carter 3, Dominick Vigue 5, Drew Martin 8, Talus Sather 9. Totals 18 (7) 8-15 51.
Mtn.View 5 14 20 15—54
Prairie 6 20 8 17—51
JV — Mountain View 59-57