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News / Sports / Prep Sports

Hot-shooting Mountain View lights up Myron Lawrence Memorial Tournament opener

Thunder boys basketball team hits 13 3-pointers in win 85-70 win over Weed (Calif.)

By Will Denner, Columbian staff writer
Published: December 27, 2023, 7:50pm

When conditions are right for the Mountain View boys basketball team, the Thunder are capable of catching fire fast with their shooting.

It’s likely the Thunder’s greatest strength, according to coach JC Alexander, and it made all the difference in their most complete performance of the season Wednesday at the Myron Lawrence Memorial Tournament.

Mountain View drained 13 3-pointers en route to an 85-70 win over Weed (Calif.) to open the Fort Vancouver High School tournament, which was renamed this year to honor the late Fort Vancouver student and athlete who passed away suddenly in 2020.

The trio of Daniel Dolev (22 points), Theo Sheron (19 points) and Luke Swerdlik (18 points), a JV call-up who got the start for the short-handed Thunder, combined to hit 12 shots from deep.

25 Photos
Mountain View’s Tommy Willson (4) greets Thunder teammates as they walk to the bench during a boys basketball game against Weed (Calif.) in the Myron Lawrence Memorial Tournament on Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2023, at Fort Vancouver High School.
2023 Myron Lawrence Memorial Basketball Tournament Photo Gallery

“By far our best game of the year,” Alexander said matter-of-factly. “We played like this against East Valley last week in Spokane, but they definitely weren’t at the level this was.

“But this is by far our best game of the year, and we’re short-handed. (Tre’von Hughes-Farmer) is out, I’ve got one (player) in Mexico, one in Arizona for Christmas, so we’re short-handed, we swung up young guys.”

Players who were available Wednesday were up to the task. Dolev, a senior, came out firing with 16 points in the first quarter to help the Thunder build a 24-12 lead.

The Cougars cut that lead to three early in the fourth quarter with back-to-back 3-pointers from Aden Rivera. Mountain View quickly responded with a trio of 3-pointers (one from Swerdlik, two from Sheron) to go up 76-61 and put the game out of reach with under five minutes left.

“We really had to turn it around. We had a couple issues with too many turnovers at (recent) games, and sometimes we couldn’t make a shot, to be honest,” Dolev said.

Mountain View’s recent trip to Spokane was a key part of that turnaround, the senior said. The Thunder (3-7) were on a six-game losing skid, including 3A Greater St. Helens League losses to Prairie, Evergreen and Kelso, when they took a road trip east for back-to-back games Dec. 18-19.

Free of external distractions, the Thunder spent valuable time in the gym to work on their shooting and also visited Shoot 360 in Spokane for some advanced training. The Thunder grabbed a dominant 83-50 win over East Valley on the trip, and also battled Riverside before falling 57-51. Their positive momentum carried into Wednesday’s game as well.

“Over the Spokane trip we had, we really got in the gym and really found each other,” Dolev said. “That’s what made the change. We all believe in it; we just had to find it. As soon as one of us starts making shots, everyone starts making shots. It’s really an energy thing.”

Mountain View will face the winner of North Thurston and Walla Walla in Thursday’s semifinal of the JaQuan Thomas Bracket. The Thunder are one of a handful of teams playing in the tournament, which consists of two eight-team boys fields. Mountain View, Union and Fort Vancouver are all playing in the JaQuan Thomas Bracket, while Hudson’s Bay, Heritage and Columbia-White Salmon are in the Jameel Morton bracket.

The Fort Vancouver girls are playing in a round-robin tournament with River Ridge, Kingston and Ashland (Ore.).

“(Fort Vancouver athletic director James Ensley) and Fort do a fantastic job,” Alexander said. “We were in the very first one they held (in 2018) and we’ve been in it four out of the five years now. They do a great job. It’s nice to stay local, still get quality competition and they can be home for the holidays.”

MOUNTAIN VIEW 85, WEED (Cal.) 70

MOUNTAIN VIEW (3-7) — Tyler Aimone 0, Madden Wilson 4, Cooper White 3, Tommy Willson 2, Tage Ghuman 3, Daniel Dolev 22, Brennan Anica-Montiel 7, Jack Johnson 2, CJ Plummer 3, Luke Swerdlik 18, Theo Sheron 19, Malcolm Weatherspoon 4. Totals 30 (13) 12-19 85.

WEED (9-3) — Aden Rivera 8, DJ Horton 39, Maddox Mize 3, Marcus Horton 13, Lucien Regis 0, Brian Garcia 2, Logan Bowles 5, Julian Gonzalez 0, Pharoah Andrews-Abakah 0. Totals 29 (7) 5-11 70.

Mountain View 24 17 21 23—85

Weed (Cal.) 12 16 26 17—70

HUDSON’S BAY 53, COLUMBIA-WHITE SALMON 38 — The Eagles picked up their first win of the season by limiting the Bruins to 11 made field goals.

Aqeel Bauman earned Player of the Game honors by leading Bay with 17 points, including 11 in the second half. Jamahson Hicks chipped in 11 points and Dmitrius Mahon-Haft added 10 points.

With the win, Bay (1-6) moves on to Jameel Morton Bracket semifinals and will face Sunnyside on Thursday at 2:15 p.m.

Angel Flores had a team-high 10 points for Columbia-White Salmon (3-5), which will face Eagle Point (Ore.) at 12:30 p.m.

UNION 67, BENSON (Ore.) 61 — With clutch scoring down the stretch from Nick Burchett, Kody Holcomb and Paxton Heitsch, the Titans (5-5) prevailed in an interstate showdown.

Benson’s Dylan Douangphrachanh hit a game-tying 3-pointer with four minutes to play, before Burchett (26 points) hit a pair of free throws to give Union the lead for good.

After Holcomb’s tip-in basket gave Union a 60-56 lead with 2:33 to play, the Titans held the Techmen scoreless for nearly two minutes to maintain the lead.

Heitsch added 13 points, while Holcomb and Grayson Stanley each scored 12 points for the Titans (5-5), who will face the winner of Puyallup or tournament host Fort Vancouver in the JaQuan Thomas Bracket semifinals Thursday at 8:40 p.m.

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