When a team has a lead, it’s easy to want to pile on and keep scoring. But Green Valley boys basketball put the emphasis on defense in the fourth quarter after a barrage of 3-pointers in the third.
The Gators controlled the tempo throughout the fourth and came away with a 60-49 victory at host Palo Verde on Thursday.
“I love the way our team played tonight,” Green Valley coach Lorenzo Jarvis said. “We played under control, we played together as a team, we followed the game plan the whole game. I couldn’t be more proud of our group.”
Eric Johnson scored 16 points to lead the Gators, and Hunter Hitchcock supplied 14 points and seven rebounds.
Green Valley led most of the way, but began putting its stamp on the game in the third quarter. After the Gators connected on one 3-pointer in the first half, four of their seven baskets in the third were from behind the arc. One of the 2-point baskets had a free throw attached for a three-point play.
“Sometimes we passed up a good shot for a great shot, and every 3 we made was a great shot,” Jarvis said.
Green Valley slowed it way down in the fourth. The Gators focused on preventing baskets rather than scoring, holding Palo Verde to 11 points. When Jarvis called timeout with 2:21 to play, the Panthers had two baskets in the quarter.
Green Valley’s defense achieved its second sub-50-point game of the season, having allowed only 29 against Rancho on Tuesday. Palo Verde scoring leader Cole Hendershot was held to 11 points as the only Panthers scorer in double digits.
“We’ve been preaching to these kids all year long that defense wins championships, offense just sells tickets,” Jarvis said. “I can find anybody that can score. I can’t find guys that want to play ‘D.’ And if you want to play ‘D’ you can play for Green Valley.”
Contact Justin Emerson at email@example.com or 702-387-2944. Follow @J15Emerson on Twitter.