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Panthers combine defense with clutch shooting in win over Desert Shields

Some high school boys basketball teams win by clutch shooting.

Others rely more on defense.

Palo Verde used both Friday night in a 56-51 win at Northwest League-rival Cheyenne, which was held to only four free throws in the fourth quarter.

“This (Cheyenne) is a tough place to play or coach,” Palo Verde coach Jermone Riley said. “Cheyenne has a very good program and getting a win on the road like this is great. Our kids hung in there, especially in the second half when we weren’t shooting the ball all that well.”

Davion Pearson nailed two free throws with 40 seconds left to seal the victory for the Panthers (8-2, 4-0 Northwest), who were led by Moses Morgan’s 23 points.

Palo Verde took control of the game in the second quarter. The Panthers got a pair of 3-pointers from Tyler Marshall and shot 53 percent in the second quarter to take a 36-25 advantage at halftime.

Cheyenne hit six of its first seven shots of the second half, and Palo Verde made two for 13 from the field as the Desert Shields took a 47-44 lead in the third quarter.

“They (Cheyenne) made adjustments in the second half,” Riley said. “We know we can’t live and die by making jump shots. Eventually, we have to play defense and take care of the basketball.”

Cheyenne failed to make a field goal in the final eight minutes while Palo Verde got a pair of big shots from Morgan, including a key 3-pointer with nearly four minutes to play.

Jaylen Henry led Cheyenne (10-5, 3-2 Northwest) with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Chris McCall had 10 points and four assists for the Desert Shields.

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