The Palm Beach Central High School basketball program hosted its fourth New Year’s Holiday Tournament last weekend, drawing eight teams to compete in the two-day event.
Royal Palm Beach High School was the lone local school aside from the host Broncos. Other schools in attendance were Somerset Canyons, Spanish River, Fort Pierce Central, Jensen Beach, Collegiate and Hughes.
Palm Beach Central head coach Jason Pitman was grateful for Flanigan’s, the hospitality room sponsor for the event. Flanigan’s has continued to support the Broncos through the tournament season. Athletic Director Ray Atkins and volunteers Christine Potter, Lauren Thompson, Tyler DeBorde, Fernalize Henry and Alex Cordeiro also played an integral role in the tournament’s success.
The Broncos made it to the final round, eliminating Royal Palm Beach in the semifinals. Palm Beach Central had to rally after falling to a double-digit deficit against the Wildcats. The Broncos (11-2) came back for the 72-64 victory.
Palm Beach Central defeated Somerset Canyons 67-51 in the earlier round. The Wildcats earned fourth place overall, falling to Collegiate by one point, 68-67. Ryan Maxwell was the top scorer for the Wildcats with 28 points in that contest, and Christopher George totaled 14 points.
In the finals, the Broncos bested Hughes High School from Cincinnati 77-73 in a nail-biter. Jenarrian Cross led the Broncos in the championship round with 17 points. William Van Hook tallied 15 points and 8 assists. Eduardo Diaz collected 14 points and 4 steals. Van Hook was also awarded the tournament’s most valuable player.
Pitman was pleased overall with his team’s performance. “It was another great tournament for us,” he said. “I felt like we improved every day. I told the guys that the opponents were going to get tougher each game, and I think the guys rose to the challenge.”
The Broncos look forward to continuing district play and are primed for the increased competition in what may be the toughest district in the county. Added to the already tough Class 7A, District 10 with Wellington and Jupiter is Forest Hill, Royal Palm Beach and Palm Beach Lakes.
“It’s going to be tough to beat any of those teams, so we have to use these experiences to learn how to compete at a high level, execute our game plan and survive the other team’s runs,” Pitman said.
Palm Beach Central will travel across town to take on rival and district foe Wellington High School on Friday, Jan. 10 at 7:30 p.m.