Rarely does the sequel live up to the original, but that was not the case for round two of Mountain Pointe vs. Desert Vista. It was a game of runs, as both teams took turns controlling the lead and tempo. However, in the end, a clutch 3 by Tyreke Chambers of DV over Jalen Graham sank the Pride; and ended their 16 game win streak and gave DV the 68-65 win.. “You can’t win every game,” Coach Eason said. “I like the fact that the boys never gave up. That’s the true test of a team.”
The Pride got down early, but made some big baskets and defensive stops to stay in the game. No one made bigger baskets than senior forward Ryan Pate (20 points), who knocked down 6 three point shots. “He was on fire.” Eason commented. “This is the second time he’s come up big against DV; and he’s a great shooter, so I expect him to make those shots.” While Pate was taking care of the long distance shots, junior post Jalen Graham was working out in the paint (17 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks). “Jalen can change the game on both ends, from the paint, when he’s focused.” Eason added.
As the game went back and forth, there were some incredible plays; one out doing the next. Huge blocked shots were overshadowed by monster dunks, which were surpassed by clutch three point shots. It was like a heavyweight title fight. Big punch after big punch, but neither team wanted to fall; not until Chamber connected on the three pointer that put DV ahead for good. A high ball screen by Christian Anigwe isolated Chambers with Graham. Two junior division 1 prospects, with big time talent. “Khalid was supposed to go under the ball screen, but he ran into it, and got knocked down, leaving Jalen to guard Chambers.” Eason said. “At this point in their careers, mentally Chambers was ready to score, but Jalen was not ready to stay with him. Hey, the kid has 16 D1 offers for reason, so I don’t think he felt a 6’9 Jalen Graham was going to stop him. I was glad Jalen kept him in front, and challenged his shot. He forced a tough shot, and the kid made it. I couldn’t ask any more of Jalen. It was great D, and greater O.
Coach Eason felt that some of the guys got caught up and some were not ready for that environment. “You gotta coach based on your data, and my data told me that a few guys needed specific instructions, and other were not ready for that environment, ” Eason explains. “I’m not always going to make the right decisions, but i’ll always make decisions with no regrets. I was satisfied with the choices I made, and the attitudes of all the guys; and I feel that’s what gave us a chance to win.”
Some missed free throws down the stretch hurt the Pride late in the fourth quarter. “I often say, you practice for the game. We didn’t focus the way we needed on free throw shooting, and it bit us tonight. That’s my fault, but it will be rectified.”
The Pride take the court Friday night against Highland, at Mountain Pointe; it’s their 2nd meeting, so they will be looking to get back on track. Come out and support the team. Tip off is 7pm.