Maybe it’s the weather.
Echoing the atypical desert rains in recent weeks, Palm Springs and host Indio poured in 3s in the opening half of their DVL boys’ hoops battle Wednesday night, before a second-half drought took hold as the visiting Indians’ ran away with a convincing, 62-50 win.
Ranked as the No. 16 team in Division 2A, sizzling Palm Springs has now won 11-consecutive games. The win keeps the Indians perfect in league play, while Indio dropped its first DVL game of the season.
“We stuck with our game plan all night, and we wore them down. That’s what we want to do: Wear people down,” said Indians’ head coach Chris Howard. “Indio doesn’t quit, but we stuck with our plan, and that’s what we’ve been doing this season. They (Indio) want to speed you up with their pressure, and I thought they did a decent job with that. But I thought we thought we did a really good job being calm.”
A torrid opening quarter saw Palm Springs bound out to an early 24-10 edge, compliments of four 3-pointers by Indians’ point guard Kaelan Richter in the game’s first five minutes. Roaring back, Indio received four first-half 3s of its own from senior guard Christian Briceno, as the regrouped Rajahs battled the visitors and took a 34-29 deficit to halftime.
Come the onset of the latter salvo, however, Indio looked gassed and would tally nary a bucket in the third quarter.
“We tailed off in the second half,” said Indio assistant coach Gio Machado. “We’ve had trouble all year starting the third quarter, and tonight, it just took a lot of energy for us to come back into the game in the second.”
Richter would lead all scorers on the night with a game-high 23 points, while Palm Springs received 14 points apiece from Damien King and Jon Scott. Indio was led by an 18-point effort from Briceno and enjoyed a 13 points off the bench from sophomore Isaiah Riley.
With just two seniors on its roster, the youth movement at Palm Springs appears up to the task of chasing a league title.
“We graduated nine out of our 11 players from last year, so we have a whole new team and for us to go 4-0 and for these young kids to show poise, I’m very pleased with tonight’s outcome,” Howard said.
Palm Springs (4-0 DVL, 13-3) now gets a critical DVL test with a visit to Palm Desert on Friday night. Indio (3-1 DVL, 10-9) will aim to regroup with a home game versus La Quinta on Friday evening at 7:00 p.m.