No. 5 seeded Mountain Pointe defeated No. 12 seeded Skyline, 88-56, in the first round of the AIA 6A state basketball tournament Tuesday night at Mountain Pointe high school.
Skyline controlled the pace in the first quarter, not allowing Mountain Pointe’s full court pressure to rattle them. Behind nine points from guard Ethan Wallace, and a couple 3-pointers from Patrick Herrera, Skyline took a 22-20 lead at the end of the quarter.
But, Mountain Pointe would seize momentum early in the second when guard Khalid Price made two 3-pointers in a row to give Mountain Pointe its first lead since early in the game.
Price dominated the entire second quarter, scoring 18 of his game-high 26 points.
“We were just in the flow of the game. I was taking shots that came to me, hit the open shots,” Price said. “We need those coming from a junior leader on the team.
Mountain Pointe’s first year head coach, Duane Eason, said he got on Price in practice to be assertive as the point guard of the team and get back to what he was doing during the team’s 16-game win streak earlier this season.
He told Price, “When you’re not shooting you’re playing for the other team.”
Behind Price’s strong performance, Mountain Pointe grabbed a 10-point lead at the half, 41-31. Mountain Pointe opened the second half with two 3-pointers to extend the lead to 16. Skyline was able to cut the lead to 10 one more time before Mountain Pointe exploded at the end of the third quarter to take a 73-48 lead.
They coasted in the fourth to the 32-point victory behind two impressive dunks from 6-foot-9 forward Jalen Graham.
Mountain Pointe will play Chandler High School, who upset the No. 4 seed Hamilton High School in the first round 44-41, in the quarterfinals on Friday, Feb. 16.
With Chandler’s win, Mountain Pointe will host the game, which led to a cheer from the locker room when the team found out after the game.
“It’s always great to have another home game. We thought today was going to be our last home game of the season,” said Price. “We got to pick it up and capitalize with the opportunity they [Chandler] gave us.”
Mountain Pointe already played Chandler earlier this season on Nov. 20. They won the first meeting 53-44.
It has been a long time since then, and Eason thinks it will be a different game this time around.
“Talent wise we’re probably at the same level as them, you can’t look back at what happened in the first game, you got to look at where they are now.”
The game will tip at 6:30, with the winner advancing to the Semifinals.