Bulldogs begin second half of season with win over Warriors
After losing five straight games before the holiday break, the Palisade High School girls basketball team wanted to begin the second half of their season the right way.
Tuesday at Central High School, the Bulldogs did just that.
Palisade (4-6) held the Warriors to 14 points in the final three quarters for a 39-25 victory.
“We knew this would be the tempo-setter for the rest of the season,” Palisade coach Toni Gunther said. “It started today, and we did some good things.”
One of the best things the Bulldogs accomplished Tuesday was overcoming a hot start from Central. The Warriors (1-10) jumped to an 8-2 lead behind two Brittany Hoppe fast-break layups. Palisade responded with a 13-3 run to end the quarter, giving the Bulldogs a 15-11 lead after the first quarter.
“(Central) came out with some intensity and scored some baskets,” Gunther said. “But we didn’t fold.”
Palisade controlled the second quarter, holding the Warriors to two points. The Bulldogs led 23-13 at halftime.
“The difference was the second quarter,” Central coach Todd Dixon said. “We couldn’t get any flow going and (Palisade) got it going.”
Central was held to fewer than 30 points in five of its first six games, but showed offensive improvement in its final three games of the first half of the season, including a 49-point performance in the Warriors’ lone win against Westminster.
“We worked really hard over break on offense and learning to be a bigger threat offensively,” Dixon said. “But we got out there and couldn’t get it going.”
Despite Central’s struggles from the field, the Bulldogs couldn’t pull away early in the second half. Taylor Hice cut Palisade’s lead to 30-24 with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
“We did a good job of containing them defensively,” Dixon said. “But we didn’t respond offensively to take advantage of it.”
The Bulldogs closed the game with a 9-1 run.
“We didn’t want to let up,” Gunther said. “We knew they were going to play hard so we wanted to be the aggressor.”
Kailie Wallace led the Bulldogs with 10 points. Courtney Clark added nine.
“We played slow early on, but started playing Palisade basketball,” Wallace said. “We played hard, strong defense and were hustling the whole time.”
Central, which got eight points from Hoppe and Hice, has a 10-day break until beginning Southwestern League play Jan. 14 in Cortez.
“We are playing better as a team,” Dixon said. “But we still have a way to go.”
Palisade begins Western Slope League play Friday at Eagle Valley.
“We are going to play through mistakes and play to win,” Gunther said.