Dolphins Survive Hamilton’s Second-Half Rally to Win 53-51
By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
Momentum can shift in a flash in basketball and Palisades High’s girls team experienced that first hand during last Friday’s Western League contest against Hamilton. The Dolphins played a nearly flawless first half on both ends of the floor to build a 23-point lead, but the visitors dominated the second half and held a 44-43 lead with 3:13 left.
Demonnie Lagway converted back-to-back layups to put Palisades back on top 47-44 with 2:16 left, but the Yankees had the ball and a chance to win down 51-50 with 11 seconds remaining.
A jumper bounced off the rim with five seconds left and Sammie Arnold was fouled on the rebound, sending her to the free throw line with a chance to pad the lead with 4.6 seconds to go.
Arnold calmly knocked down both foul shots to make it 53-50, after which the Dolphins intentionally fouled in the backcourt to deny the Yankees an opportunity for a tying three-pointer and the Hamilton player made the second of two free throws with less than a second left on the clock to provide the final margin.
Arnold scored 14 of her team-high 16 points in the first half for Palisades. The Yankees scored the first 13 points of the second half and closed to within 41-34 by the start of the fourth quarter.
The teams split two league games last year, each winning on its home floor. Hamilton went on to lose in the quarterfinal round of the City Section Open Division playoffs while the Dolphins won the Division I title. Both teams are likely to make the Open Division this season.
While the girls were surviving a scare at home, the Pali High boys team was locked in a stuggle of its own at Hamilton. In the end, the Yankees missed a three-pointer at the buzzer and Palisades won, 50-47 as Caden Arnold had 14 points, 13 rebounds and four assists.
Two nights earlier Palisades was tied with reigning City champion Fairfax 36-36 in the third quarter but the host Lions closed on a 42-15 run to win, 78-51.
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