HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: Palo Duro cruises past Odessa High

The outside shots were falling for Amarillo Palo Duro as the Dons recorded an 82-44 win over Odessa High Tuesday at OHS Fieldhouse.

Playing in a nondistrict contest, Palo Duro (out of District 3-5A) finished with nine total 3-pointers and the Dons led for the majority of the game.

Palo Duro moved to 4-1 for the season while the Bronchos fell to 2-6.

“Our outside shooting opened up when our defense stepped up,” Palo Duro head coach Marques Loftis said. “The first half, we couldn’t buy a basket. I thought our defense wasn’t as good as it could’ve been but we picked it up in the second half. Once you play hard on defense, the goal opens up and the shots started falling.”

The Dons were led in scoring by Eli Igiranez 15 while Alain Nziza had 14 and Vic Juarez scored 11.

Odessa High was led in scoring by D’javeyian Williams had 11 while Jordan Bruner finished with 10, Naledge Jenkins had nine.

“We have to be able to press a little bit better,” Odessa High head coach Neal Welch said. “We also need to rebound better too. We’re going to work on those things. We have what we have. We have to take care of business with the guys that we have with rebounding.”

Palo Duro began the game on a 14-11 run.

Both teams traded baskets throughout as OHS managed to at least keep a safe distance.

The Dons led 16-11 at the end of the opening quarter.

Brunner scored from 3-point land before Palo Duro’s Imran Hussein answered back with an outside shot of his own to make it 21-14 with 4:40 left in the second quarter.

The Dons extended their lead when Jouk Mayan’s inside basket made it 25-14 shortly after.

The Bronchos used a 5-5 run as the Dons took a 30-19 lead in the closing minutes of the first half.

Cuda Clayton added a layup for the Dons to make it 32-19.

A basket by Naledge Jenkins brought the Bronchos to a 32-23 halftime deficit.

D’javeyian Williams scored a long-range 3-pointer to bring OHS to a 37-31 deficit at the 4:31 mark in the third quarter.

But Mayan hit a 3-pointer shortly after (following a Palo Duro free throw) and the Dons had a 10-point lead late in the quarter.

The Dons scored another shot from beyond the art as Igiranez’s basket make it 46-31.

Things wouldn’t get any easier for the Bronchos as the Dons went on an 8-2 run to take a 54-33 lead with 1:10 left in the quarter and Odessa High called a timeout.

It was 57-33 heading into the fourth quarter.

Igiranez scored yet another 3-pointer for the Dons early in the fourth quarter as the visitors built a 63-35 advantage.

Nziza scored from the far-left side of the corner as the Dons wouldn’t let up.

With 2:01 left in the game, the Dons put in four backups as the team closed out in comfortable fashion.

“I thought the guys played hard,” Loftis said. “Odessa High battled hard. That’s a good team. They gave us all they could. My guys just finally woke up.”