Palm Springs boys basketball continues winning ways

Palm Springs boys basketball continues winning ways

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Palm Springs boys basketball continues winning ways

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PALM DESERT

Perennial Desert Valley League boys’ basketball power Palm Springs is considered by some to be amid a rebuilding year. But after the results of the past week, the Indians are showing they still have some plaster left from seasons past.

Behind a board-crashing team effort and a stellar floor performance from junior forward Riley Hagar, the undersized Indians staved off a comeback from host Xavier Prep on Saturday night to depart with a hard-earned 42-33 road win. The weekend victory follows Palm Springs’ 53-40 win over Indio on Thursday night to put the Indians in third place in the DVL.

“It was good; kind of a blue collar game,” said Palm Springs’ first-year head coach Chris Howard. “We had a little adversity. They cut it down to two points in the fourth quarter, but we played tough and pulled it out in the end. Rebounding was the key for us again. We’re the smallest team in the DVL.”

After Palm Springs opened the night with a 9-0 run and took a 24-15 lead to halftime, Xavier’s Gabriel Dreisbach scored nine of his game-high 15 points in a comeback third to pull the Saints within two to start the final period. Xavier was able to again cut their deficit to a field goal midway through the fourth, but couldn’t break through on an evening in which they never led.

Junior Ricky Wright led the Indians with 13 points while Hagar added 10 more. When the Saints trimmed the visitors’ lead to 31-29 in the waning minutes, Hagar ground out five consecutive points to provide the needed cushion. Clutch buckets aside, Hagar consistently showcased strong ball-handling in the Indians’ methodical, ball-control offense.

“We had a team meetings and just came together after that,” said Hagar of Palm Springs’ winning back-to-back DVL games following their 10-game losing streak from Dec. 17 to January 7. “We were down and we needed to get back up, talk about our roles, build confidence. Now, we just need to keep it up and keep working hard.”

Xavier Prep (6-8, 1-3 DVL) has lost three of four and finds little time for rest amid the skid. The Saints play their fourth league game in an eight-day stretch when they visit Indio on Tuesday night.

Palm Springs (4-10, 2-1 DVL) goes for its third consecutive win when they host Coachella Valley (winless in conference) on Tuesday evening.

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