Pali High Boys Basketball Team Falls 60-57 in Western League Opener at Venice
By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
Battling crosstown rival Venice down to the wire in Monday’s Western League opener, it looked like the Palisades High boys basketball team would steal a game on the Gondoliers’ home floor. Instead, it was senior guard Terrance Washington’s steal and layup with 9.3 seconds left that allowed Venice to escape with a 60-57 victory.
Washington was fouled on the play, which broke a 57-57 tie, and made the ensuing free throw to put the Gondoliers up by three.
Palisades used quick passing to free up Cole Jacobs for a corner three-pointer but it hit the rim and deflected out of bounds off a Venice player with 0.1 seconds left. Graham Alphson launched a desperation jumper off the inbounds pass, but the clock expired before the ball left his hand. His long-range shot off a pass from Anthony Spencer gave the Dolphins a 57-55 lead with 2:17 left
“I set a back screen for Cole on the last play so we got the shot we wanted,” said Alphson, who finished with 11 points. “He’s a great shooter. It’s unfortunate he missed, but we should’ve kept the lead. We let up a little. One of the baskets is slightly shorter and they had it in the second half.”
Junior guard Nick Kerkorian led the Dolphins (4-11 overall, 0-1 in league) with 21 points, including five three-pointers.
“I’ve always shot poorly in this gym but today my stroke was there,” Kerkorian said. “I didn’t shoot well the last time we played, so this was a bounce back game for me. I saw Cole coming around the back screen to the backside corner and he normally knocks those down. It was the little things that cost us today, like shooting to early at the end of the half which gave them an extra possession. We know every game in league is going to be like this, so we have to learn from it and be better next time. There’s lots of games left.”
Spencer booked 12 points and six assists, Will Janney had seven points and Jacobs and Keyshawn Parks each added three.
Guards Nmaeka Nwiwu and Dion Moore each had 14 points and Lamin Williams added 11 for Venice (8-7, 1-1), which lost by double digits to Palisades in both league meetings last season.
Palisades notched its fourth win last Wednesday with a gutsy 59-58 triumph in Inglewood against a Morningside team bent on reversing a 13-point loss last year.
“It was really close the whole way—they got up eight, we went up by six or seven, they went up two or three—it was that kind of game. We hit some big threes down the stretch and there was a clock mishap so we had to play the last three seconds twice.”
Two nights later, the Dolphins lost 72-46 at Campbell Hall.
Palisades resumes league action against LACES on Friday night.