Palestine hosted the Vandals of Van in holiday play on Wednesday afternoon, and came away with a 49-41 win.
The Wildcats, who have been plagued recently with slow starts and turnovers, hit the hardwood with intensity that paid off with a 16/8 lead after the first quarter. Sparked by Taj’Shawn Wilson, PHS posted 13 unanswered points as they doubled up on the Vandals at halftime, 30-14.
The Vandals were connecting from beyond the arc in the second half, while Palestine lost some of their edge. VHS outscored the Palestine squad to make it a game, pulling within four late in the final quarter, but Palestine's Dreyon Barrett was controlling the boards and the Wildcats finished strong for the win.
Barrett led his squad with 15 points and a strong defensive effort. Elvin Calhoun played big at low post and added 14 points and Wilson contributed 10.
Addressing the improved start, Coach JJ Johnson stated, "We had a little film session the last couple of days and talked about the slow start -- having more enthusiasm, more intensity, and we've got to live on the defensive end. I thought we did a better job of that. Late in the game we got a little tight, a little tense. We've got to learn to keep playing for four quarters. Everybody can contribute on this team and I've told them, 'You've got to play hard, make your presence known."