What should have been a routine night for the Pride, turned into a four quarter thriller. Desert Ridge gave MP all they could handle, and then some; before falling 62-55. This was not the performance Coach Eason expected, but it also wasn’t a surprise. “Our record is not an indicator of who we really are,” Eason said. “You see the record, the ranking, and the tournament championships, but the truth is, we can be beat on any day, and Desert Ridge proved that.” Eason talked about the advantages the Pride held over DR, that were not exploited. “Their biggest guy was 6’4, and we couldn’t take advantage of that at all. We have 6’3 guys that can dunk, but couldn’t get in the paint and finish, and we have to guys 6’7 and 6’9, neither of which showed the desire to dominate the paint. We got exposed.”
The shooting of senior forward Ryan Pate (6 threes/20 points) kept MP within striking distance, so they could close out the win at the end. “Ryan came up big for us tonight,” Eason added. “He played like a senior that didn’t want to lose.” Coach Eason moved Ryan into the starting line-up to help, what he calls, a slow starting first unit. “Ryan plays with little fear on offense, and we felt that some of the starters have been taking too long to get going. It made sense to make the switch, and it paid off.” It was Pate’s best game since the Desert Vista win, back on December 18th.
Leading scorers Amarion Cash (11 points) and Khalid Price (11 points) looked out of sorts, and never really got into the flow. “You expect your leaders to step up, but in high school you never know. Tonight was a prime example of that inconsistency.” Eason said their style and his ability to use the whole team has been very helpful in games like these. “At this point in the season, you gotta be able to count on everybody. Sometimes your main guys step up, and sometimes they don’t. You still have to find a way to win. Fortunately, we’ve made a living figuring out how to win with different guys stepping up.”
The Pride take on Corona Friday night at Mountain Pointe. It’s a “Black Out,” so come out dressed in black to support the boys. Varsity tips off at 7pm, JV 5:30pm and Freshmen 4pm.