Mesa senior guard Xavier Fuller said he and his teammates had Friday night's game circled on their schedule long before the start of this season.
Their opponent: crosstown rival Mesa Mountain View.
The 6A rivals squared off at Mesa High School, and it was Fuller who knocked down four free throws in the final seconds to seal a 50-41 win for the Jackrabbits.
"We had (this game) in the back of our mind the whole time," said the 6-foot-4 Fuller. "The energy in this gym was electric. So we made sure to get out there and dive for every loose ball and play 100 percent."
Fuller, No. 39 in the azcentral sports top 50 Arizona high school boys basketball players mid-season rankings, finished with 14 points, including a perfect 6-for-6 from the free-throw line.
Teammate Mark Hatch, the No. 7 player in the mid-season rankings, added a game-high 18 points to lead Mesa (15-4) to its sixth win in seven games.
"They're a tough defensive team," Hatch, a senior, said of the Toros (10-7). "We expected a close game. Our goal tonight was to play competitively and play hard."
Leading the way
Mesa scored the first basket Friday night and never trailed the rest of the game. Mountain View got close, cutting it to 44-41 with 1:55 remaining.
"We beat Mountain View, our arch-rival," Jackrabbits head coach Shane Burcar said. "We knew it would be a competitive game the whole night with coach (Gary) Ernst and his players. It's kind of like a backyard brawl with Mesa and Mountain View."
Senior guard Kaleb Doka led Mountain View with 11 points in the loss.
Mesa and Mountain View will face each other again Feb. 6 at Mountain View in what will be the regular-season finale for both teams.
Mesa will be at Mesa Westwood Tuesday night, while Mountain View will take on host Mesa Skyline. Both games are scheduled to start at 7 p.m.