The Pride extended their win streak to 14 on Friday night, defeating Corona 59-57 at home. Although MP had an edge in size, record and experience, Corona didn’t go down as easily as you would have thought. “It’s a rivalry game,” Coach Eason explained. “It doesn’t matter what part of the world you’re in, if you have two rivals going at it, records go out of the window.”
Corona controlled most of the game, but they couldn’t put the Pride away. As has been the case since the DV game, MP has made a living staying close, and then pulling it out in the end. “I don’t worry about the first 30 minutes,” Eason joked. “I don’t know what it is, but we don’t get off to good starts. Maybe I need to change my pre-game up.” Key baskets in crucial situations was the name of the game for MP, and Coach Eason recognized it. “Jalen (Graham) finished a tough ally oop, Noah Simmons his a big 3 to end the third quarter, and we made some big free throws down the stretch.”
Graham came up big, nearly completing a triple-double (12 points/10 rebounds/9 blocks). “He’s got special talent,” Eason said. “He’s got to wanna show up every night. Right now his lack of maturity is holding him back.” Junior point guard Khalid Price led all scorers with 18 points, but struggled to run the team efficiently. “Khalid is still learning to be a true point guard. As he realizes that his priority is to read the defense and get the ball where it is supposed to be, he’ll take off.” Eason added. “Right now he’s still looking to score more than pass. He’s better than he was, but in order to win a state championship he’s going to have to be as solid as guys like Nico at Pinnacle, EJ at DV, Hatch at Mesa and Burke at Brophy. I think he can be, but he’s gotta want to be.”
The Pride are heading into a tough 3 game stretch, starting with Gilbert on the road Tuesday night. MP beat Gilbert in the McClintock Holiday Shootout, in overtime. Not to mention, Gilbert took DV down to the wire last week. Tip off is 7pm, at Gilbert. Come out and support the Pride Boys.