Mountain Pointe and Desert Vista High School has been close rivals since both schools were developed - with both schools being located in close proximity to one another in the Ahwatukee area of Phoenix, AZ. This season is no different as both teams are absolutely loaded with talented college prospects for the future. While the Lady Pride at Mountain Pointe (17-3) have been a major bright spot among top teams in the state this season, the girls at Desert Vista (12-7) are still looking to put it all together.
Desert Vista would travel to Mountain Pointe on Friday evening for what would become one of the most exciting games of the season - a fast-paced and very exciting affair that would involve the emergence of numerous prospects to the big stage. The Thunder would be without the services of two of their star performers, talented 5-foot-7 junior point guard Emily Wolph and developing 6-foot-4 sophomore post Kristine Anigwe - both out suffering from ankle injuries.
In front of a nice-sized crowd, Mountain would jump out to a quick 10-5 lead in the game after a basket inside by gifted 6-foot-1 junior post Kaylah Lupoe.
But Desert Vista would remain tough and after a three-pointer by 5-foot-3 junior Janae Martin, which would make the score 15-14, Desert Vista. After a transition layup by freshman guard Toni Davis, Desert Vista would take the lead, 16-15, with 3 minutes left to play in the opening period.
Mountain Pointe, in a very fast-paced game, would take the lead back after a sweeping hook shot in the lane by gifted 5-foot-9 freshman forward Tilasha Okey. After an uncontested three-pointer in transition from 5-foot-4 senior guard Michelle Luna and a mid-range jumper from Okey, the Pride would take a 22-16 lead with 1:39 left to play in the quarter. Mountain Pointe would take a 24-16 lead into the second period.
With Desert Vista first-year head coach Jaysie Sheppard-Chambers urging her team on in between quarters, Desert Vista would look to narrow the Pride's lead in the second quarter once again. Chambers took over this season for former veteran head coach Rachel Proudfoot who moved to Virginia for family reasons.
Mountain Pointe's Okey would continue her scoring outburst in the second quarter - scoring on back-to-back layups inside to putting her team ahead 30-20. Another mid-range jumper from Okey, and then an offensive rebound and put-back by her would give the Pride a 34-25 lead late in the second period.
Mountain Pointe would hold on to a 38-31 lead at halftime.
Desert Vista would get back into the game quickly in the third period. Consecutive three-pointers to start the third would make the game a three-point game, 44-41, in Mountain Pointe's favor.
Again, Mountain Pointe would storm back in an intense battle, after consecutive baskets inside from 6-foot sophomore forward Monay Mariscal and another transition layup from Okey would push the Pride ahead again, 50-43.
Again, the Thunder would climb back into contention after a mid-range jumper from 5-foot-9 sophomore guard Alexis Barfield - bringing the Thunder to within 2-points, 50-48, with 2:42 left to play in the third period.
Mountain Pointe would cling on to their lead though, and finish the quarter with a 57-52 lead.
Desert Vista would quickly take back the game's momentum in the fourth quarter. An offensive put-back and a turn around jumper over a defender by Toni Davis, and then a transition layup by 5-foot-7 senior guard Kylie Butler would tie the game at 61 all with 4:56 left to play in the game.
The Pride's Okey would continue her scoring outburst once again - hitting a three-pointer from the corner to put Mountain Pointe ahead, 65-61. Then Kaylah Lupoe would get it going again, scoring on an assist from 5-foot-8 senior guard Caitlyn Hetrick, and then on another basket inside of her own to give her team a 69-62 lead with 2:48 left to play.
Caitlyn Hetrick and Lupoe would then close out the big victory for the Pride, as Hetrick would convert a three-point play after an offensive rebound and put-back after being fouled. After Hetrick's free-throw, Lupoe would score again in transition on a layup to give Mountain Pointe a 79-68 win.
Mountain Pointe would be led in the game by Lupoe's team-high 24 points, while Tilasha Okey would pour in 20 points off the bench and Hetrick would contribute 17 points in the victory.
Desert Vista would be led by a game-high 28 points by 5-foot-3 senior guard Jayla Brown. Kylie Butler would finish with 16 points in the loss.
Both of these two teams made for a very exciting game, as both teams are absolutely loaded with prospects that will play at the next level. I can only imagine just how good this game would have been had Desert Vista had the services of Wolph and Anigwe on the evening. Both teams will meet up again on the last game of the regular season - this time at Desert Vista HS (1/31).