Tuesday night was the start of the state tournament, and #5 ranked Mountain Pointe played host to #12 ranked Skyline. The game went back and forth early, but in the middle of the second quarter the Pride took full control of the game. Skyline won the first quarter 22-20, but MP found their shooting stroke, and outscored their opponent 21-9; taking a 41-31 lead into the half. Despite the great shooting, which included 5 three pointers, Coach Eason felt the offense needed to be better. “I’m glad we shot it well, but we had a distinct size advantage; and I wanted us to take it inside, Coach Eason said.
Junior point guard Khalid Price lead the team with 26 points, including 17 of the teams 21 points in the second quarter. “I told him, he hasn’t been the player he was during the 16 game win streak, since we lost.” Eason says. “We want him to run the team, manage the game, and set the tone on offense and defense, but he’s a good shooter, and we want him to take the shots that are there for him.”
Price wasn’t alone, in the impressive 3 point shooting display. The Pride connected on 14 of 26 3s overall. Senior forward Ryan Pate continued his marksmen like shooting, knocking down 5 out of 6 (15 points). Senior guard Amarion Cash added 11 points, including 3 3s of his own. “It’s no doubt we can shoot the ball, but we don’t want the guys relying on just outside shooting.”
Paint play was also solid, as the sophomore DeAndre Henry and Jalen Graham took care of business around the rim. Graham was the Pride’s second leading scorer with 16 points and 8 rebounds. “Jalen can have nights like that when ever he wants.” Eason added. Henry added 8 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks. “When our bigs play big, we’re unbeatable.” Eason commented.
With the win, the Pride set the school record for most wins in a single season, moving the 24-3. For the first year coach, it’s a humbling experience. “People try to give me alot of credit, but it’s these boys that deserve it all,” Eason explains. “I’ve made some changes and i’m a tough coach to play for, but I can’t make you. These boys made the choice, and i’m proud of their accomplishments.
Friday night the Pride play host to #13 Chandler, who upset #4 seeded Hamilton. Tip off is 6:30pm at Mountain Pointe. Come out and support the team.