The Royal Palm Beach High School boys basketball team hosted Atlantic High School for the regular season opener on Tuesday, Nov. 28 and fell short to the Eagles 79-53 before a large crowd in a much-anticipated match-up.
Atlantic proved to be too much from the outside for the Wildcat defense, which played well on the inside. The strong play forced the Eagles to shoot from the perimeter, but they rarely missed, gaining nine points from the three-point arc in the first quarter alone.
Royal Palm Beach managed to take a brief early lead, but saw it slip away by the end of the first quarter of play.
The Wildcats rallied behind Joeh Joseph, who totaled six points in the second quarter to tie the game at 17-17, but Atlantic put up another bunch of points from the three-point area and outscored Royal Palm Beach 22-14 in the second period to take a 39-25 halftime lead.
The third period saw the momentum swing decisively in favor of the Eagles, as they took a 60-39 lead by the period’s end. The Wildcats did a better job sealing off the sniper-like three-point shots by the Eagles but opened up lanes to the boards, and Atlantic took advantage. Royal Palm Beach also had difficulty securing rebounds, and turnovers proved costly. The Eagles put up 21 points in the third period.
The Wildcats pressed in the fourth period, putting up 14 points, including a three-pointer from De’Andre Morris, but it would not be enough. Atlantic was slowed by the Royal Palm Beach defense but still managed 19 points in the last quarter to secure a 79-53 victory.
The Wildcats dropped a one-point decision 61-60 to Palm Beach Central High School on Friday, Dec. 1 to go 0-2 on the season.
Shaquille Peters led the scoring with 13 points for the Wildcats. Demmerick Warren also added seven points, with five of those coming from the free-throw line.
Royal Palm Beach faced Olympic Heights High School this week, but results were not available by press time.