MP's McGhee brings toughness to Pride backcourt - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Sports

MP's McGhee brings toughness to Pride backcourt

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Posted: Saturday, January 21, 2012 12:00 pm

Myesha McGhee was unable to run the Mountain Pointe offense and couldn't bring her toughness to the Pride lineup, but that doesn't mean her voice wasn't heard.

The Red Mountain transfer had to sit out all of last season after the family moved, but not into the school district.

Unable to do anything but watch on game day, McGhee took over the duties of announcing the team's starters before every home game.

"She had a great time with it and the kids loved it," Pride coach Trevor Neider said. "She did this high-pitched squeal that got everyone going."

These days McGhee is still getting her teammates all riled up, but now it is with her style of play as the Pride senior point guard has brought a new dimension to the squad.

"We know she is running the game as a point guard," junior guard Caitlyn Hetrick said. "Last year, we didn't have that. She is tough. She will take some hits and keep going."

McGhee is happy to be playing again, as she basically missed two full years after her family moved here from the Chicago area.

She enrolled at Red Mountain but it ended up being a bad fit so they moved into what they thought was the Mountain Pointe district, but it turned out to be on the outskirts.

While she was unable to play for the Pride last year, McGhee practiced with the team and did some good work on the scout team. She was accepted by the team and did her best to keep sharp and get better.

But just watching during the games was difficult.

"I probably cried after 70 percent of the games, especially when we played my old school," she said. "It was hard at times. I thought I was going to be able to play right away because we moved, but (school officials) wanted to make sure everything was right first.

"It got frustrating. All I wanted to do is play basketball. It's what I am good at."

McGhee, who played club basketball with several of her Pride teammates before transferring, is getting that chance now and has helped the Pride to a 16-6 record heading into Friday's home game against Hamilton.

She began the week averaging 6.9 points, a team-best 2.9 assists, 2.1 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game. The 5-foot-4 McGhee has struggled with her shot - she is shooting 34 percent from the field and from the free throw line - but continues to bring toughness to the floor.

"I think kids from the Midwest generally are tougher because they have to shovel snow or mow the grass," Neider said. "There is just something about them, and she is no different.

"She plays with aggression that most players from Arizona don't have. It's something we needed."

Neider said it was clear last year when she was practicing with the Pride that she was going to be able to run the team, but there are times where she is probably trying to make up for lost time.

"It's her senior year and she wants to play at the next level," he said. "All seniors kind of hit that panic button when they are trying to get to a college. She wants to do this, this, and this, and it is her last year to do stuff, but there has to be a happy medium.

"And she has found that."

McGhee's style comes from playing against her older brothers while growing up. She even played on a club team with boys.

"I am not going to roll over for anyone," she said. "I played everywhere. They knocked me around and beat me up. It was intense and made me stronger."

McGhee figures she will head to a junior college next year. She has time to worry about that. Right now, her focus is on making sure the Pride plays to its potential.

"Not to knock DV (which beat the Pride 67-48 last week), but I felt like we could have beaten them," she said. "If we could have come out better (they were down 12-0) we would have had a chance. We don't push ourselves to the limit like we can.

"Once we do that we can start beating the top teams."

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or jskoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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Jason P. Skoda
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