Mountain Pointe finishes strong to top Mesquite, 76-67

December 26, 2017 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365

Mesquite's David Exline (23 dark uniform) lets a 3-point attempt fly vs. Mountain Pointe. (AzPreps365 photo)

One can bet first-year Mountain Pointe coach Duane Eason doesn't want his team making a habit of heroic comebacks, but for the second game in a row, that's what it took for the Pride to triumph.

Eleven days ago Mountain Pointe erased a seven-point deficit  in the fourth quarter vs. rival Desert Vista and prevailed in overtime. On Tuesday night in the opening round of the McClintock Holiday Shootout, the Pride managed the win in regulation, 76-67, over Mesquite at McClintock High School. Mountain Pointe outscored Mesquite, 24-5, over the final four-plus minutes.

Unlike the ovetime win over Desert Vista that Mountain Pointe led in a good portion of the way, Tuesday the Pride didn't lead until two minutes remained. That was courtesy of three-point field goal by senior guard Amarion Cash. Cash was the central figure in the win.

Cash netted a game-high 35 points -- 12 in those final two minutes. Cash didn't score in the first quarter and contributed only five points in the first half before unleashing second-half fury.  He made 12 of 18 field goals and 7 of 8 free throws. Backcourt mate Khalid Price kept Mountain Pointe afloat with 13 points in the first half and finished with 20. Ryan Pate added 15 points off the bench - 10 in the second half.

Mountain Pointe (12-1) spotted Mesquite (10-4) an 8-0 lead, trailed by 16 in the second quarter and by 11 at halftime.  The Pride pecked away to slice the lead to six after three quarters yet with 4:25 left found themselves down 62-52. 

Mesquite built its lead excelling in transition and with good ball movement and precise passing. David Exline lead the Wildcats with 20 points. Kingdom Artis added 15 and Edin Smjecanin chipped in 10 off the bench.

Play in the tournament continues today with the following schedule:

Consolation bracket -- 10 a.m. - Saguaro vs. Salpointe; 11:30 a.m. - Desert Ridge vs. Marcos de Niza; 1 p.m. - Tempe vs. Mesqute; 2:30 p.m. - Skyline vs. Seton Catholic. Championship quarterfinals -- 4 p.m. - Chandler vs. Mesa; 5:30 p.m. - Arcadia vs. Dobson; 7 p.m. - Desert Mountain vs. McClintock; 8:30 p.m. - Gilbert vs. Mountain Pointe.