Palm Springs boys basketball stifles Indio Rajahs

Palm Springs boys basketball stifles Indio Rajahs

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Palm Springs boys basketball stifles Indio Rajahs

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PALM SPRINGS

The Indio High School boys’ basketball team couldn’t hang on to an early lead against Palm Springs Thursday, and fell to the six-time defending Desert Valley League champions 53-40.

The Rajahs opened up with a strong first quarter, taking a 14-6 lead over the Indians, but couldn’t sustain the momentum and found themselves down at halftime 24-21.

“We stuck with the game plan, as far as great defense, rebounding, taking care of the ball, being unselfish,” said first-year Palm Springs head coach Scott Howard. “Our guys played hard, that’s what we do here at Palm Springs — we play hard all the time.”

Most of that hard play came under the basket as Palm Springs came away with 32 rebounds.

“That’s all effort; those kids are all bigger than us, we’re probably one of the smallest teams in the league,” Howard said.

Certainly the smallest player on the smallest team in the league then is 5-5 Noah McGuire, who led the Indians with 18 points Thursday – all of them coming from beyond the arc.

“Today I was open so I took the shots, but our team did a good job of spreading the ball around,” the sophomore guard said. “After I hit the first few, I thought they’d play a little tighter on me – they started to, but we helped out a lot, so I got open.”

Ricky Wright also contributed 12 points to the Indians’ effort.

For the Rajahs, their leading scorer, Isaiah Thomas started out strong, but was all but shut down in the second half. He scored 12 of his team-leading 13 points in the first half, and none in the fourth quarter, when Palm Springs ran away with the game. Indio was only down 35-32 to start the final period.

“Obviously Isaiah Thomas is a great player so our game plan was to know the personnel and know what they do, execute on defense and rebound the ball, which we did,” Howard said.

Will Thigpen contributed 11 points for the Rajahs, including three 3-point plays, but he also missed nine from beyond the 3-point line.

Cesar Cid also got into double digits for Indio, scoring 10, but was blanked in the second period and only scored 1 in the fourth quarter.

“We got up and our intensity just fell off, and when your intensity falls off, you can’t win too many games; we struggled on defense and you can’t win games if you don’t play defense,” Indio assistant coach Gio Machado said. “(Thomas and Cid) played really hard, but you can’t win games with two players, you need help from other guys.”

Palm Springs (3-10, 1-1, DVL) travels to Xavier Prep on Saturday. Indio (11-6, 1-2) hosts Xavier Prep on Tuesday.

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