The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local Sports

November 27, 2012

H.S. Basketball: Palestine falls short in home-opener versus Kerens

The start of the 2012-2013 season has been a rough, if not heartbreaking, one for the Palestine basketball team.

Hoping to vastly improve on their six wins from a year ago, the Wildcats fell to Tyler’s T.K. Gorman Saturday, by one point.

Then, Tuesday, the Wildcats found themselves out-rebounded and a woeful 5-of-13 from the free throw line as Palestine fell to Kerens, 58-55.

Palestine had two looks at three-point shots to end the game, but neither shot from Shumauri Scott or Gee Clark could find the bottom of the net.

“There’s no way that you can come away from this game tonight not better,” PHS coach Bret Botard said. “We’ll be a better basketball team because of this game.

“It was anybody’s ball game the whole way, I just thought there were a few shots we needed to knock down, a few free throws we needed to knock down and we got killed on the glass in the second half.”

Palestine led the game, 54-51, with 1:18 to play after a nice defensive stop and transition basket that saw junior Jarrell Owens convert a lay-up off a pass from junior Sheldon Watson.

But, Kerens — who advanced to the Class 1A state tournament a year ago — answered behind star Tobyus Thomas.

Less than 10 seconds after Owens’ bucket, Thomas got a lay-up of his own and was fouled, converting the free throw to tie the game up at 54.

Palestine’s next possession ended in a miss, and Thomas was at it again, this time converting a floater in the lane that put the Bobcats, who are ranked No. 4 in Class 1A, Division I, up 56-54.

Palestine then took the ball down the court, and Tony Butler drove to the rim and got fouled, earning a trip to the free throw line.

But, Butler only converted one-of-two, expanding on a huge problem for Palestine all night.

“You’re not going to win close games and beat good teams shooting free throws like that,” Botard said. “We discussed that in the locker room after the game, and I just told the guys that I have great faith in their ability to do it, we’re just not doing it right now.”

Palestine then fouled Thomas to send the senior to the line, where he converted both with 17 seconds left.

Palestine opened the game strong and led 15-12 after the first quarter. The Wildcats then extended that lead with an impressive 8-2 run to open the second quarter that gave them their biggest lead of the night at 23-14.

But, Kerens closed the first half on a 13-4 run to tie the game up heading into halftime, and the Bobcats scored 20 points in the third quarter to take a 47-43 lead into the final frame.

Scott finished with a team-best 20 for the Palestine, including two threes. He also had four rebounds.

Owens had 10 points and six rebounds, while sophomore Dakedrick McMorris had four points and 10 rebounds.

Both Butler and Watson finished with six points in the loss for Palestine (0-2).

Palestine heads to Van this weekend for play in the 2012 DQ Van Invitational. The Wildcats take on Carrollton Christian at 10:50 a.m. Thursday at Van Junior High.

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