Mesa Jackrabbits Defeat Westwood Warriors 55-19

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Izzy Loring sets up a play as he crosses half court

After sitting out a few games before becoming eligible to play on the varsity basketball team after transferring to Mesa High School, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community member Israel “Izzy” Loring is happy to be suiting up as a Jackrabbit.

O’odham Action News followed Loring as the Jackrabbits played at Westwood High School vs. the Westwood Warriors on the rainy Thursday night of February 1.

With a win over the Warriors, the Jackrabbits were looking to go 20-5 overall and 9-0 in the region.

Without missing a beat, the Jackrabbits played solid, dominating defense for the entire game and maintaining a solid lead throughout.

At halftime, the Jackrabbits were up 34-5, and they didn’t show signs of slowing down the rest of the way. The final score was 55-10 Jackrabbits.

“Today we played good basketball. … Less turnovers, not giving them opportunities,” said Loring.

With their recent play, Mesa High School head coach Scott Stansberry said that the team just found out they are in the open ranking, where he hopes the team will stay.

“We clinched the region, so now we’re regional champs,” said Stansberry, whose team is ranked first in 6A East Valley. “Right now, things are looking great, and we’re looking better every day and seeing where we can take this thing.”

The defense-first approach seems to be working for the Jackrabbits this season.

“We hang our hat on defense. As long as we defend, we think great things are going to happen,” said Stansberry. “We preach it and we apply it. We defend first and execute, letting the boys showcase their skills.”

The defensive-minded Loring fits right in on his new team, according to his coach.

“Adding Izzy was a blessing. He is only a junior, so I’m excited to see him the rest of the year,” said Stansberry. “He’s in for a big senior year. I’m glad to have Izzy; I’m glad he’s a Jackrabbit, and I know he is too.”

Loring feels as though with the Jackrabbits, he’s being developed well as a player.

“Coming onto the team has been a really good opportunity for me. Nothing but progress. I think we’re going to go far in the season. We just have to take care of business,” said Loring.

On February 22, the Jackrabbits defeated the Desert Vista Thunder 65-22 in overtime as a part of the 2024 AIA Boys Basketball State Championships (Arizona) Conference 6A. Mesa plays Boulder Creek High School next on February 23 during the quarterfinals. The winner of that game goes on to the semifinals on February 28; with the championship game on March 2.

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