From Tuesday, Jan. 2 through Thursday, Jan. 4, the Palm Beach Central High School basketball program hosted its second annual holiday tournament. Eight teams participated in the three-day event: Christopher Columbus, Atlantic, Florida Christian, Okeechobee, Killian, Fort Pierce Central and Braddock high schools, in addition to the host Broncos.
The teams played through three games in brackets, with the goal of playing in the finals for tournament champion. Florida Christian Academy won the tournament title. The competition was fierce throughout.
The Broncos lost their first match-up against a tough Braddock team. The lead exchanged sides throughout the game. Palm Beach Central’s Tre Jackson hit one from midcourt at the buzzer to end the third period with the score tied 44-44. Hitting at the buzzer was the trend for the contest. Braddock hit for a three-point goal at the final buzzer after trailing to tie it up at 58-58. Palm Beach Central fell short 66-60 in overtime.
In the second round, the Broncos faced a tough Fort Pierce Central squad. Palm Beach Central trailed at the half 39-34 after leading most of the way. The Broncos returned in the second half to rally and lock up the score at 61-61 with four minutes remaining to play. They battled in the final minutes, causing turnovers and miscues for the Cobras, and took advantage with grit to claim a 69-68 victory.
In the third round, the Broncos fell to Christopher Columbus 67-46 to go 1-2 overall in the tournament.
“It always helps us to play people from out of our area,” Bronco coach Jason Pitman said. “You get to see other well-coached teams, especially the ones that have come up from Miami.”
The Broncos had their best start of the season in school history going 7-1 but, after the tournament, are 9-5. “We’ve had a few injuries over the break,” Pitman explained. “One of our key players, Alphonse Alfred, had his ACL tear during football, and he is a 6-foot-4-inch scorer.”
Gyvicht Genius is the team leader for the Broncos, averaging 23 points per game and seven rebounds. He recently went over the 1,000-point mark. Drew Potter has also made an impact for the Broncos, with 10 points a game and five rebounds.
Jackson is also a solid addition, being a dual-sport athlete, playing football as well. Jackson participated in the recent Florida vs. Georgia all-star game in Georgia, just after the tournament. “Tre would practice in the morning for about three hours, then come and play in the game every night,” Pitman said.
He added that the event would not be possible without sponsors Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, Buffalo Wild Wings and Moe’s Southwest Grill.
The Broncos have a tough road ahead, resuming district play after the winter break with a tough game against their crosstown rival, unbeaten Wellington High School, on Friday, Jan. 12 at 7:30 p.m.
“They have been playing well,” Pitman said. “We have had some really great practices, getting back to basics, and looking to improve our half-court defense.”