Palisade jumps ahead of Central early, can’t maintain momentum in 74-59 loss
Despite appearances, the Central High School boys basketball team was not going to get a cakewalk Saturday night against Palisade.
“We came out thinking it was going to be an easy game,” Central’s Josh Wells said. “It wasn’t.”
True, Palisade gave the Warriors a handful to deal with in the first half before Central pulled away for a 74-59 victory over its east-end rival.
“They came out fired up, they came out with a lot of intensity,” Central coach Phil Cain said of the Bulldogs’ hot start.
At one point, Palisade (2-15) hit six consecutive shots by four different players in claiming a 14-3 lead with less than half the first quarter gone.
“We came out with a chip on our shoulders,” Palisade senior forward Rylie Josey said.
“I looked at everybody in the locker room (before the game) and I could see we were ready.
We all came together tonight.”
It took a while for the Warriors to get that way.
“I felt we weren’t there tonight,” Wells said.
Cain called a timeout and switched from a zone to a man-to-man defense to cool off the Bulldogs’ hot hands.
Clay Kame kept the Warriors (15-3) within striking distance by scoring their first 11 points, including three 3-pointers. By the end of the first quarter, Central had taken a 15-14 lead.
Three consecutive baskets by Michael Wiedrich late in the second quarter helped Central to a 36-30 lead, but it was the third quarter when the Warriors began to give themselves some breathing room.
That was in large part because of Wells. The 6-foot-3 junior post came off the bench and played to his strength.
Wells pulled down seven offensive rebounds, turning many into put-backs.
“That’s what my role is on the team,” Wells said. “By doing that, that’s where my points are going to come.”
“Josh had a big game in the third quarter,” Cain said.
Wells scored four of his 10 points during the quarter but his rebounding set up opportunities for others to score as Central stretched its lead to 57-43 entering the fourth quarter.
Kame finished with a game-high 24 points and Kahler Grandbouche added 11. Jeremy Hayden scored 22 to lead Palisade.
“They’re getting more confident in each other all the time,” said Palisade coach Steve Phillips, who was elated with his team’s effort.
After getting their final nonleague game out of the way, the Warriors close out the regular season with five Southwestern League games.
“They all count now,” Cain said.