Palo Verde’s girls won’t be mistaken for a classic up-tempo basketball team. The Panthers often are patient on offense, carefully picking their spots to run.
Such as a 92-second stretch on Monday, for instance.
Palo Verde forced four turnovers, converting them all into baskets, during a 10-0 second-quarter surge to a 13-point lead, and the Panthers rolled to a 53-39 victory over visiting Shadow Ridge.
“We’re not as up-and-down as we’ve been in the past,” coach Phil Clarke said. “When we go on a run and get going, it’s out of our transition. We’re not a big fast-break team, but we can transition with what we have.”
Leading only 13-10 after a lethargic first nine minutes, the Panthers (10-3, 5-0 Northwest) sprung to life on Mikayla Diers’ short jumper off a turnover with 6:49 left in the second quarter.
Consecutive transition baskets by Jasmin Kiley, a 19-foot jumper by Lily Tapusoa and another Diers jumper built the lead to 23-10 only 92 seconds later. The final three baskets of the run all came after the Panthers forced a turnover.
“Our guards did a nice job of getting their hands on some passes,” Clarke said.
The run awakened the Panthers’ transition game. Palo Verde made 10 transition baskets, outscoring the Mustangs, 20-7 in fast-break points.
“We finally started to speed up a little bit,” Clarke said. “We can’t really trap a team up and down all game. It comes in spurts.”
The Panthers expanded their lead to 32-15 at halftime and led 48-25 with four minutes left before Shadow Ridge (4-10, 2-3) finished with a 14-5 run.
Kiley, a senior point guard, finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds — 10 of those on defense — for Palo Verde.
“She was at the backside of our zone a lot, and it’s big when your point guard can rebound,” Clarke said. “A lot of our fast breaks, she initiated. It gets our offense going.”
Diers added 12 points for the Panthers, who play three league games this week before a potential showdown for first-place against Centennial on Jan. 20.
Rayven Thomas came off the bench to supply 12 points and 10 rebounds for Shadow Ridge. Sabriya Brooks added 12 points and eight rebounds.