Friday night the Pride resumed conference play, after a championship Christmas, and defeated Highland 78-58 in Gilbert. It was MP’s 12th win in a row, and raised their conference record to 2-0. “It was a significant win,” Coach Eason commented. “Last year this team went 2-8 in conference play, so getting our second conference win this early puts us in position to surpass last year’s total.
The Pride were led by sophomore big man DeAndre Henry, he totaled 16 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 assists. Highland had no answer for the big man, and it was obvious from the start. “Dre had a double-double in the first quarter,” Eason said. “He’s still getting acclimated to our system, but Friday night he looked a lot more comfortable.
The team also received a big lift from senior guard Terrance Hunter (13 points/6 assists) and sophomore guard TJ Tigler (4 points/5 assists), who stepped up in the absence of starters junior Khalid Price (neck) and senior John Norsworthy (ankle). Price will be back this week and Norsworthy next week. Senior guard Amarion Cash added points and junior Jalen Graham had 10 points and 10 rebounds to round out the Pride’s double digit scorers.
Coach Eason was pleased with the defense, but not thrilled. “It was better, but still has much more room for improvement,” Eason explains. “This team has the ability to stop teams dead in the water, but they have to want to; and I felt like tonight we showed some of that.” The difference between the first and second halves, shows what Coach Eason is talking about. The Pride held Highland to 23 points in the first half, but gave up 35 in the second half. However, some of the scoring at the end of the game came with the Pride regulars sitting out the last 4 minutes.
Mountain Pointe continues play Tuesday at Desert Ridge high school. It will be a rematch from the Welcome to the Jungle Thanksgiving Tournament; where the Pride defeated them 63-40 in the quarterfinals. Varsity tips off at 7pm, JV at 5:30pm and Freshmen 4pm. Come out to support the team.
(Slideshow coming soon)