Palo Verde’s Moses Morgan still had a bad taste in his mouth as he stepped onto the basketball court Friday night.
Morgan had not forgotten his team’s Jan. 24 road loss to top-ranked Cheyenne, and he was determined to help the Panthers get even.
He achieved that objective Friday, posting 20 points and six rebounds to lift third-ranked Palo Verde to an 85-77 home win over the Desert Shields.
"I loved Moses’ effort," said Panthers coach Jermone Riley, whose team trailed throughout most of the first half. "Big players make big-time shots, and that’s what he did."
Cheyenne (17-3, 8-1 Northwest) threatened to break open the game on several occasions in the first half, but Morgan came up with a timely shot each time Palo Verde (16-3, 7-1) appeared buried.
"When they got up on us, I knew we just had to keep our composure," said Morgan, whose team trailed 31-21 in the second quarter.
A 7-0 scoring run helped Palo Verde cut its deficit to four points late in the first half, and an off-balance, over-the-shoulder 3-pointer by D.J. Stennis at the buzzer cut the Desert Shields’ lead to 42-41 heading into halftime.
Morgan scored five points early in the second half, sparking an 11-0 spurt that gave the Panthers a 52-48 lead.
Though Cheyenne attempted to rally in the fourth quarter, Bryce Cotton answered by scoring seven points in just more than a minute to stretch Palo Verde’s lead to 82-70.
Stennis finished with 18 points and Cotton 15.
Chris McCall had 18 points to lead the Desert Shields.In-depth high school sports coverage
Video — Palo Verde at Cheyenne FRIDAY’S HIGHLIGHTS BOYS •Durango’s Marcus Falley had 11 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter as the Trailblazers edged visiting Spring Valley, 58-56. •Coronado’s Charlie Wakefield had 22 points, including the winning basket with less than a minute left, in a 51-50 road win over Green Valley. •Silverado’s Ali Sabra had 30 points and Wade Collie 28 points and 12 rebounds as the Skyhawks beat visiting Del Sol, 106-69. GIRLS •Centennial’s Johnna Brown had 20 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists in the Bulldogs’81-32 home win over Legacy. •Silverado’s Mikayla Thielges had 14 points and 11 rebounds in the Skyhawks’ 63-33 home victory over Del Sol. •Sierra Vista’s Nicolette Grigsby had 19 points in the Mountain Lions’ 56-41 home win over Pahrump Valley.