The Palestine High School boys' basketball team was sluggish during Tuesday's District 19-4A game versus Fairfield.

But, the Wildcats' defense was enough as Palestine finished 19-4A play with an unblemished 8-0 record — believed to be the first time that's happened since 1998, and fourth time since 1960 — beating the Eagles 52-36.

“It's an awesome feeling,” Palestine head coach J.J. Johnson said. “The kids have been looking forward to this, and I am excited for them.”

Johnson said he smiled as he watched every single player on the team cut down part of the net — one of the game's most symbolic gestures of accomplishment.

Neither team played sharp basketball, with Palestine up just 20-16 at intermission.

However, the Wildcats (24-3) outscored the Eagles 16-5 in the third quarter to pull away, establishing a 36-21 lead heading into the final quarter.

Johnson said D'Michael Bellfield was a third-quarter spark, scoring nine of his 14 points during the frame. The coach said Palestine played better in the transition game in the final two periods.

Matt Wages, who netted a game-high 19 points, sank three 3-pointers during the second half. Ahmad Deckard also scored in double figures with 10, including a pair of treys.

Jaise Oliver was Fairfield's lone double-digit scorer with 16, on eight field-goal attempts.

Buffalo 61, Westwood 48

BUFFALO — The Westwood High School boys' basketball team had a chance to enter the playoffs as a fourth seed — without a play-in needed.

However, Buffalo topped Westwood by 13 points in the District 20-3A finale for both teams.

The Panthers were up 12-8 after the first quarter, and they had a 26-22 lead at intermission. However, the Bison totaled 39 second-half points, with 24 of them during the final frame.

Jaren Turner netted 19 points, including three 3-pointers and two free throws, to pace Westwood. Mario Black and Ka'Donte Watkins both chipped in with eight.

Three Buffalo players scored double figures, with Dirk Kilgore 19, Jamaul Randle 13 and Jarrett Fishbeck 12.

What's Ahead?

Palestine will open up the University Interscholastic League playoffs with a bi-district round game versus Jasper at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Nacogdoches.

Before then, the Wildcats will play Grandview, one of the top teams in Conference 3A, at the Whataburger Preview.

Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Mansfield Legacy High School.

Meanwhile, Westwood will play Elkhart for the fourth seed in District 20-3A, with the game set for 6:30 p.m. Friday at Frankston High School.



Boys Basketball

Tuesday's Results

District 19-4A

At Palestine

Palestine 52, Fairfield 36

Score by quarters

F 6 10 5 15 — 36

P 9 11 16 16 — 52

Individual scorers

Fairfield: Kadarius Walker, 7; Devin Cunningham, 2; Carl Daniels, 3; Kobe Freeman, 7; Jordan Gibson, 2; Jaise Oliver, 16

Palestine: Matt Wages, 19; Eric Carthen, 2; Ahmad Deckard, 10; T.J. Dever, 4; Quinton Cook, 3; D'Michael Bellfield, 14

District 20-3A

At Buffalo

Buffalo 61, Westwood 48

Score by quarters

W 12 14 9 13 — 48

B 8 14 15 24 — 61

Individual scorers

Westwood: Mario Black, 8; Bri'Darian Hunt, 7; Jaren Turner, 19; Devonte Downie, 2; Ka'Donte Watkins, 8; Riley Thieme, 4

Buffalo: Jamaul Randle, 13; Luis Porras, 2; Tony Rios, 2; Brett Hoffman, 7; Eric Beshears, 2; Jarrett Fishbeck, 12; Timothy Simpson, 4; Dirk Kilgore, 19