Pali High Boys Basketball Gives Birmingham a Scare in Opener
By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
Palisades High guard Anthony Spencer isn’t much for moral victories, but he had to admit there are a lot of positives the Dolphins can take away from last Thursday night’s 58-48 defeat to Birmingham, the preseason favorite to win the City Section Open Division basketball championship.
“Credit to our second unit—they got us going and we fed off that energy,” said Spencer, who missed all of last season with an injury but made a sparkling return with 14 points, four steals, four rebounds and two assists. “Iron sharpens iron. Sitting out an entire year makes me want to go even harder, plus I’m a senior so I’m more determined than ever.”
Palisades lost to the Patriots by 29 points on the same floor last season and fell behind by 25 midway through the third quarter this time, but the Dolphins were not about to go down without a fight.
Sheldon Zanders made a driving layup to pull his team within eight with 3:22 left and scored another layup to make it a six-point game with 17.4 seconds left. Not until after James Nobles blocked Zanders’ layup and teammate David Elliott hit two free throws with 2.9 seconds left could the Patriots breathe a sigh of relief.
“This shows we can compete with anyone if we play as a team,” said Palisades senior guard Dylan Griffin, who had nine points, seven steals and five rebounds.
Charlie Moore had eight points and Zanders added seven for Palisades, which battled to the wire despite the absence of All-City forward Graham Alphson, the team’s scoring leader last year.
“We stuck to the gameplan,” forward Caden Arnold said. “They tried getting us to take quick shots but we patiently ran our offense.”