H-P Sports Editor

After Tuesday night’s win over Central, Palestine head coach Tommy Allison called his team’s defensive effort the best of the season.

Come Friday, Allison knows his defense is going to have to play with the same intensity against the hottest District 21-3A team — the Hudson Hornets.

“We got to continue playing solid team defense,” Allison said. “We have been doing that for the last couple of games and need to see it again Friday.”

Palestine will host Hudson Friday at Wildcat Gymnasium. The action starts at 5 p.m. with the junior varsity boys’ game, followed by the varsity girls’ game and the varsity boys’ game.

Hudson enters Friday’s game tied for first place in District 21-3A with a 7-1 record. The Hornets are riding a seven-game winning streak, including wins over Diboll and Crockett. The last time Hudson lost was against Crockett in the first game of district.

In the first meeting between the two teams, Hudson defeated Palestine 64-59, with the difference coming at the free-throw line. The Hornets were 15-of-24 from the free-throw line while Palestine was 15-of-29.

“They are a very good, fundamental basketball team,” Allison said. “They are a team that gives faster, more athletic teams, some problems.”

Palestine is one of those faster, more athletic teams, which is why Allison said its starts on defense for the Wildcats.

“Our offense is in direct relation with our defense,” Allison said. “When we play good defense, it allows us to run the floor and lead to our transition offense.”

The transition offense has been what has fueled the Wildcat offense the last three games. Palestine’s success in the transition offense was evident starting against Huntington, when the Wildcats scored 99 points.

The following game, Palestine used that transition offense to take a double-digit lead over Crockett, but once the Wildcats got out of their offensive game plan, the Bulldogs rallied to win.

On Tuesday, Palestine used solid defense in holding Central to 41 points and the Wildcats had several transition opportunities, leading to easy points.

“For the last three weeks we have been playing very good basketball,” Allison said. “Other than the fourth quarter against Crockett, I have been very pleased with the way we have played.”

When Palestine gets into its half-court offense, the Wildcats will see a tough man-to-man defense from the Hornets.

“We have to try and find the mismatches with our big players down low and run our offense,” Allison said. “When we run our offense and set good screens, it is hard to stop us.”

Palestine also has had success in the offensive rebounding department, which leads to second and third scoring opportunities.

“The offensive rebounding is part of our offense,” Allison said. “When you are not shooting a high percentage you have to get second and third shots and we have athletic players who can jump and get in position to make those plays.”

In the win over Central, Adorian Arthur gave the Wildcats a spark off the bench as he scored nine points.

“Adorian did a great job crashing the boards and penetrating to the basket,” Allison. “He did the things he does well.”

Allison said Arthur played his role on the team which is what he wants from all eight of his players.

“It is important for the whole team to know their role and fill that role,” Allison said.

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