Young Bulldogs learning what it takes to win at varsity level

The Palisade High School boys basketball team is missing the all-important asset of varsity experience this season.

But through three quarters Thursday night, Palisade didn’t look like a team with little experience as the Bulldogs pushed Douglas County on every possession. 

In the fourth quarter, though, the Bulldogs began making the mistakes of a young team, committing costly turnovers and missing free throws.

Palisade’s miscues allowed Douglas County to go on a 10-5 run in the fourth quarter, which was enough to get the Huskies the 48-40 win on the first day of the Warrior Challenge at Central High School.

“They played better at the end than we did to get the win,” Palisade coach Steve Phillips said. “You have to give yourself a chance to win and when we get better, we will finish that game.”

Phillips mentioned his team’s youth, and a lot of the late-game mistakes can be attributed to inexperience.

“We have some guys that haven’t played a lot and don’t understand you have to go full speed all the time, but that will come,” Phillips said. “We have a lot of sophomores and freshmen that aren’t used to the different pace, but they’ll just have to go through it a little
bit to find out what the level is like.”

Palisade was led by one of the few players with varsity experience, Jacob Edmiston, who scored nine of the Bulldogs’ 14 points in the first quarter by attacking the basket and being able to finish around the rim.

“I think we have a lot of improvement to make, but we played well,” Edmiston said. “We have to learn how to win and that will come.”

Edmiston finished with 11 points and seven rebounds but fouled out late in the fourth quarter with the game tied at 40-40. The senior’s presence was missed — the Bulldogs were outscored 8-0 in the final three minutes.

“I’m gonna play hard and the fouls will come when they do,” Edmiston said. “But that is adversity we have to fight through.”

Although Palisade fell short, the Bulldogs had a lot of solid individual performances, including junior Jeremy Hayden, who finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. Hayden scored half of his points in the second quarter, and along with sophomore Nathaniel Yanez’s five points in the quarter, gave the Bulldogs a 27-26 lead heading into halftime.

The two teams went back and forth in the third quarter, but the Huskies’ Jake Kubasta began to heat up, scoring seven of the Huskies’ nine points, most on drives to the basket.

Kubasta was the one player the Bulldogs had trouble with the entire game. Kubasta finished with 18 points on 7-of-16 shooting.

“The defensive effort was outstanding,” Phillips said. “If we continue to play like that, we will beat someone we aren’t supposed to.”

Phillips hopes to make good on the statement as the Bulldogs take on Horizon today at 3:15.

“We will get better and we are still thinking on our toes, because it is a new system for them,” Phillips said. “They will gain some confidence pretty soon when they are not thinking all the time and they are just playing.”


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