By STEVE GALLUZZO
Heading into the final week of the regular season there was still a chance the Palisades High boys basketball team could sneak into the City Section Open Division playoffs. However, after back-to-back gut-wrenching losses to Westchester and University the Dolphins found themselves in a precarious position, needing to win yesterday’s final game at Venice to finish fourth in the Western League and ensure a home game in the postseason.
Palisades had three chances to tie or take the lead in the final minute Monday at University, but the Wildcats held on for a 56-54 win to sweep the season series and clinch third place.
“I thought we were going to win it,” said Pali High senior Dylan Griffin, who finished with 12 points—two behind Dolphins high scorer Anthony Spencer. “I can’t really explain what happened. We were late on some of our rotations. It wasn’t anything they did. This loss is on us.”
Last Friday, Palisades was poised to end its 24-year drought against visiting Westchester, up by 11 points at halftime, but the Comets came back to win, 63-57 despite 17 points by Sheldon Zanders and 14 points, seven rebounds and a career-high eight blocks by Graham Alphson.
City playoff brackets will be determined Saturday. Palisades is likely to receive a top-eight seed in the Division I draw.
Palisades honored its eight seniors before last Wedneday’s game against Hamilton, which was stopped with nine seconds left after the Yankees’ coach got into a verbal exchange with a parent in the stands, but in the end cooler heads prevailed.
The Dolphins won 54-40 as Alphson had 19 points and Arnold and Spencer each had eight.