The Royal Palm Beach High School boys varsity basketball team held off a determined Palm Beach Central High School squad on Friday, Nov. 30 to win their regular season opener 57-53.
The game’s lead changed hands several times throughout the evening. The Wildcats (1-0) went up early 4-2 as the game got underway, but Palm Beach Central (0-1) rallied later in the opening period to steal it away 8-4 with quick counter attacks. By the end of the first, the teams combined for 18 fouls.
Royal Palm Beach closed the margin in the second period and dumped the go-ahead basket seconds later to reclaim the advantage 19-18. The momentum swing forced the Broncos to call a time out. A Bronco free-throw tied the game at 19-19 with seconds left in the first half. The two traded blows to tie at 22-22, but it was sophomore guard Will Van Hook who sunk a two-pointer at the buzzer to lift the Broncos back into the lead 24-22 to end the first half.
The intensity continued into the second half with Wildcats Demerrick Warren and De’Andre Morris each dropping in three-point baskets to win back some confidence. Royal Palm Beach tied it at 31-31 to force the Broncos into a time out.
The Wildcats built a 10-point lead in the final period 44-34, but Palm Beach Central continued to kick back. Van Hook put in a free-throw to bring the Broncos within five at 44-39. With 2:09 to play, the Wildcats held a 52-46 lead. Both teams unleashed in the final two minutes. Alphonse Alfred dropped in a three-pointer to bring the Broncos within two, 55-53. The basket forced the Wildcats to call for a time out.
The three-pointer by the Broncos would be their last points of the game. Royal Palm Beach played solid defense and managed the ball well in the final minute to secure the 57-53 win.
Warren totaled 15 points and the three-point basket, while Morris tallied 10 points for the Wildcats. For the Broncos, Alfred racked up 21 points and the three-point basket, while Van Hook totaled 18 points and had two three-pointers.
Royal Palm Beach had games against Berean Christian and Centennial this week, while Palm Beach Central played the Oxbridge Academy and Pahokee, but results were not available by press time. The Wildcats are on the road Friday, Dec. 7 against Palm Beach Lakes at 7:30 p.m., and the Broncos host Jupiter, also at 7:30 p.m.