Palm Springs Indians dodge Lions' final shot to tie

Palm Springs Indians dodge Lions' final shot to tie

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Palm Springs Indians dodge Lions' final shot to tie

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CATHEDRAL CITY

The position of Josiah Chavez’s jersey told the story.

Down 69-66 to rival Palm Springs in the waning seconds of a critical, midseason DVL boys’ basketball game, Chavez’s game-tying 3-point attempt slid in, then out of the net as host Cathedral City lost to the Indians for the 12th consecutive time dating to January of 2008.

As the ball bounced off the rim and descended to the hardwood, Chavez pulled his jersey over his head in anguish and dropped to his knees.

In one of the desert’s most intense contests of the season (as evidenced, in part, by an astounding 51 foul calls), the road win for Palm Springs was its fourth conference victory in the past five DVL games and brought the Indians to within a game of a tie for second place in league.

Palm Springs was led by 20 points from sophomore guard Noah McGuire, while juniors Ricky Wright and Ray Mullen added 16 points apiece for the victors.

“This is my first time with this rivalry, and it was a good atmosphere,” said Palm Springs head coach Chris Howard. “Our kids battled through the foul calls. I thought Ricky Wright and Ray Mullen stepped up, and it was a good win for us because it was tough.”

Added Howard of McGuire’s four 3-pointers on the night: “He played very well. Big time by Noah McGuire. And he’s been thrown in that situation because our top guy tore his ACL. So, he’s (McGuire) gotten better every single game.”

Trailing 10-0 in the game’s opening minutes and then trailing 38-29 at halftime, Cathedral City absorbed the roar from their potent fan base and took their first lead of the game 70 seconds into the final quarter.

Chris Grenier led the Lions’ comeback with a game-high 26 points, 16 of which came via the free throw line on an evening when the charity stripe was both well-worn and well-played by both squads. Palm Springs made 24 of 32 from the line, while Cathedral City was 21 of 27.

“We wanted this game really bad,” said an emotional Grenier. “It’s tough not to play hard against your rival, with fans on your side when they fill up the bleachers like that.”

Losers of six of their last seven games and four consecutive DVL matchups, the Lions continue to evidence ample heart despite the skid.

“We haven’t been playing up to our potential all of DVL. We wanted to change it this game,” Grenier said. “But I’m really excited that we play every single team again, and I can’t wait to get this Palm Springs team again.”

Palm Springs (5-14, 4-2 DVL) hosts Xavier Prep next Tuesday. Cathedral City (10-8, 1-5 DVL) travels to Coachella Valley on Thursday.

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