At first it was just business, now it’s personal has become the motto for the post season for the East Mustangs and tomorrow could culminate what has been one of the best seasons in their school’s history. The vaunted 3 peat is at stake for the Mustangs but in their way, the Whitehaven Tigers who have put together a run that can’t be overlooked. Led by head coach Faragi Phillips, the Tigers who have played without their top 2 players for 8 games this season are in position to win a state title for the first time since 1985. Sophomores Alvin Miles, Kavion Mcclain and Devine Owens have played integral parts along with Latrell Carter and Anthony Whitmore. Coach Phillips talked about being his team after the game saying, “This group is probably less talented than a lot of Whitehaven teams in the past but there here, it’s every day in the gym, it’s empty, we pressing, we working and now we go play tomorrow in front of packed house because of what we did in an empty gym back in November, December, January and February”. Whitehaven has to have one of the best stories in the entire state this year and tomorrow is the epitome of who they have as a coach and who they are as team.
East has been the preemptive favorite pretty much all year. They super talented, everyone knows the key players involved, I don’t have to tell you that. They had a tough game today for the first time in awhile against a good Bearden team who was 37-1 on the season before the game today.”They were a pretty good team, we’ve played some good schools but probably the 4th or 5th best team we’ve played all year, I can’t put them higher than University School and the others because they beat us but they definitely are up there, they’re a good team” said head coach, Penny Hardaway. With all of their accolades this year and eyes on them as being one of the best teams in the country, East still has a chip on their shoulder and they’ve played with it all year long. Hardaway said after the game, “The last couple of years, we felt like we came in being the hunters, not the hunted, then last year we wanted to repeat and this year it’s personal because we’ve gone through so many obstacles, so many people not wanting us to win, not having many fans at the home games and we built that anger and we want to let it out when we play so it’s personal”.
Tomorrow it’s all on the line for both teams, one goal at the start of the season for both, they’ve done it different ways but they are here. Each have their own stories but both want it to end in a special way tomorrow, a state championship.