COD (8-9) strained to find a rhythm all night, down at halftime, 46-38, the Roadrunners stormed back to open the second half, then the Imperial Valley Arabs (7-8) went on a 10-0 run and pulled ahead for good, as the Arabs won, 91-77.
The game started going sideways for the Roadrunners from the tip and five minutes in, Imperial Valley held a 12 point lead, 20-8, and a 15 point lead midway through the first half, 32-17. Every time Desert would start to chip away at the lead, the Arabs would hit a three pointer or grab a foul to slow, or outright stop, the momentum of the game.
A cutting layup by sophomore starting guard Riley Welch (Littleton (CO) Chatfield), whittled the deficit down to nine, 40-31 and the Arabs answered right back with a layup of their own to reclaim the double-digit lead.
Later in the half, free throws by sophomore guard Marquete Eddie (Washington, D.C. Friendship Collegiate Academy) and freshman starting guard Sam Skipper (Perris H.S.) narrowed the gap to six points, 42-36, with 2:45 left in the first half. A visit to the charity stripe by freshman forward Kristopher Howard (Palm Springs H.S) would keep the Arabs from heading to the locker room with a double digit lead at the break, nailing both to keep the score 46-38 at halftime.
Desert would open the second half on a roll, getting the ball into team leading scorer, sophomore starting forward Nicholas Pete (Hemet Tahquitz). Pete would open the half with three consecutive layups, cutting the Imperial Valley lead to two points, 46-44, with 17:15 left in the game. And then Pete fouled an Arabs player on a three-point shot and the entire momentum shifted when that player hit all three free throws. The converted free throw attempts would be the beginning of a 10-0 run for Imperial Valley and the Roadrunners couldn't find the bottom of the net for three minutes, until that was busted up on a layup by sophomore forward Anthony Ogrodnick (Lafayette (CO) Centaurus) with 14:10 left.
Midway through the second half, Desert went on an 11-2 run to get to within five points, 66-61, but the Arabs would go on an 11-3 run of their own to push the contest out again, making the score 77-64.
Pete would lead all Desert scorers with 16 points on 7 of 10 shooting, leading in several categories, including total rebounds (7), steals (3) and blocked shots (2). Welch would contribute 12 points, on 4 of 8 shooting and lead the team with seven assists. Freshman guard Christian Briceno (Indio H.S.) would lead all bench scorers with 12 points, going 3 of 8 from three-point range.
The next game for Desert is at home on Friday, when they host the Cuyamaca Coyotes of El Cajon on, January 11, the last time the Coyotes traveled to Palm Desert, which was in 2014, the game ended in a 98-79 Roadrunners victory, game starts at 5 p.m. The Roadrunners hold a 6-1 record all time against Cuyamaca, including a record of 2-0 in the friendly confines of the Garrow Athletic Quad Gym.
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For additional information, please contact the COD Sports Information Office at 760.423.6641.
Information & Story provided by COD Sports Information. Photo by Cliff Robbins (firstname.lastname@example.org).