Palisade’s quickness too much for Delta

It was size versus quickness, and on this night quickness was the big winner.

The Palisade boys basketball team fell behind early Tuesday night but stormed back to dominate Delta with a 47-33 Western Slope League victory.

Once the Bulldogs got the lead, their defensive intensity dictated the game.

Point guard Daniel Ness and the other Palisade defenders made it tough on the Panthers on the perimeter after the slow start.

“We’re a pretty undersized team, so we make our money on the defensive end,” Ness said. “We just have to focus on defense, and that creates offense for us.”

That’s exactly what happened.

After trailing 7-3, Palisade (8-4, 5-2 WSL)  turned up the defensive intensity to torment the much taller Panthers. With four players at 6-foot-3 or taller, Delta (7-6, 4-2 WSL) was controlling the paint and the boards early.

When Ian Shierland hit a turnaround jumper and Jacob Bollinger followed with a fast-break layup, the Bulldogs had their first lead at 11-10 with 5:36 left in the first quarter.

The lead quickly grew, and Palisade’s quickness took over as they forced four straight turnovers after they snagged the lead.

Levi Hoaglund hit his first 3-pointer of the season from the top of the key, and the Bulldogs were rolling with a 20-5 run.

Guard Tass Crow sliced in amongst the giants and spun in a layup to give the Bulldogs a 23-14 lead at the half.

Hoaglund keyed a quick spurt in the third quarter with two buckets with a Crow 3-pointer sandwiched between them. Zach Marengo hit a driving shot, and Marques Combs took a drive right at the Delta big men for a tough, left-handed layup and was fouled. He missed the free throw, but the lead was 34-22.

Delta’s big men, Cade Gafford and Eian Baier, made contributions in the paint and on the boards in the second half, but Palisade’s quickness kept the Panthers in check. The Bulldogs pushed their lead to 14 in the third quarter at 36-22 on a driving layup by Ness.

Delta upped its own defensive pressure, which led to a mini-run to end the quarter when Ryan Whiteside hit a 15-foot banker, then took a pass from Keaton Reiher for a layup to cut the lead to 36-26.

A putback by Reiher and free throw by Baier cut the lead to 39-31. After Gafford made a strong move in the paint for a bucket, the Palisade faithful were nervous as the lead was sliced to 40-33 with 2:55 remaining. Palisade sucked time off the clock and hit five free throws in the final 1:21 to sew up the win.

Crow led a balanced scoring attack for the Bulldogs with 13 points, including three 3-pointers. Hoaglund added eight and Ness seven points. Baier had nine points and 12 rebounds for the Panthers.

Ness said the key was playing their game.

“We were shooting too many threes and not working the ball around and not running our offense,” he said. “Then we got back to the basics and played our game.”


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