Simply stated: Taner Alvarez and the Desert Chapel Eagles are just too good for Majestic League basketball.
Flashing a dominant, end-to-end court presence to couple with his game-high 29 points, Alvarez led the visiting Eagles to a 79-45 victory over Palm Valley on Tuesday night. Both teams entered the evening riding seven-game win streaks, with the Firebirds flying high hopes of avenging a December loss to Desert Chapel and entering a virtual tie for first place in conference.
But it was evident from the outset that said flight was not to be for the hosts. Alvarez outscored Palm Valley 11-10 in the opening quarter and, with nine more points in the second quarter, nearly duplicated the feat as the Eagles took a 47-24 lead to halftime.
“We had a mindset coming into this year that we were going to dominate the Majestic League and go undefeated,” said Alvarez. “And this was our game tonight.”
The No. 2-ranked team in Division VI, the Eagles have yet to lose in 2014. Tuesday’s win represented Desert Chapel’s eighth consecutive victory and 10th win in its past 11 games. Jaleel Miles added 25 points (17 in the second half) for the victors while Roman Pellum tallied 14 more before fouling out.
“Coach (Alfonso) Alvarez runs a really good system and their top three players — Pellum, Alvarez and Miles — know exactly what they’re doing and the guys around them also know exactly what they’re doing,” said Palm Valley head coach Kevin Smith, whose squad entered the week tied for a No. 8 ranking in Division VI. “We couldn’t keep up with their intensity tonight and it’s something we need to learn from.”
The Eagles (15-4, 9-0 Majestic) host Bethel Christian on Thursday.
In the loss, Palm Valley (10-6, 7-2 Majestic) was led by 10 points from Matt Elliott. The Firebirds host Packinghouse Christian on Thursday.