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Pali High Girls Hoops Nets Big Intersectional Victories

By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor

As it has done all season long, the Palisades High girls basketball team tested itself against a pair of strong Southern Section teams over the MLK holiday and the Dolphins showed what they’re made of, rallying to tie both at the end of regulation on their way to two gutsy overtime victories absent one of their best players.   

With reigning City Division I Player of the Year and Pepperdine signee Jane Nwaba nursing an injury, her teammates stepped up to stun host Redondo Union, 51-44, on Saturday, then edged Santa Monica, 59-56, Monday at SMC.

Ivy Scott came up huge both time. She made a tying layup off an inbounds pass from Alexis Pettis with four seconds left in regulation to force overtime against the Sea Hawks and made the first basket of the extra session to give the Dolphins a lead they would not relinquish.

Taylor Arnold’s block led to a  fast break in which Scott was fouled. She made one of two free throws and Sammie Arnold sank a 3-pointer on Palisades’ next possession to make it 47-41.

Demonnie Lagway led the way with 20 points, Scott, Pettis and Sammie Arnold each had six, Sydney Meskin had five and Taylor Arnold and Rose Morris each scored four points.

Two days later the Dolphins found themselves in a similiar situation—down by two points with  nine seconds left—only this time they had to go the length of the court to score. Pettis got the ball and drove into the lane, dishing to Scott for a layup before the clock ran out. Scott’s basket with one minute left in overtime put Palisades ahead for good. Pettis and Lagway each hit two free throws to keep the Vikings at bay.

Lagway again led the way in scoring with 17 points, Sammie Arnold added 13 points, eight rebounds and two steals, Pettis had 11 points, Scott and Meskin scored six apiece, Morris had four and Gabby Ligon had two.

“We wanted to give ourselves some tough games in between our league games to stay sharp,” Pali High head coach Adam Levine said. “Beating two really good team without Jane shows just how much we’re improving.”

Palisades is expected to contend for the City Open Division championship this season after winning the Division I title last winter. The Dolphins (13-7) will carry a six-game winning streak into tomorrow afternoon’s league contest against LACES, then head to West Hills to battle another CIF powerhouse, Chaminade, ranked in the top 20 in California.

The Dolphins’ most difficult challenge in league figures to be next Wednesday at Hamilton.