By Lee Passmore- Amarillo Globe News
It seemed perfectly natural that in an early season matchup for the District 3-5A boys lead that styles would clash between Palo Duro and Hereford on Friday night.
And in the end, it wasn’t that surprising that playing at home as the No. 14 ranked team in the state that Palo Duro’s style would come out on top.
The Dons pushed the tempo as usual and hit nine 3-pointers to take control of the game against the bigger Whitefaces. When it was over, defending district champion Palo Duro came out on top, 63-55, to claim sole possession of the 3-5A lead.
PD coach Jeff Evans was happy his team emerged as the best for now in district play, even though he wasn’t fully convinced of his team’s superiority at the end of the evening.
“We won on the scoreboard but in some cases we didn’t win the matchup,” Evans said. “(The Whitefaces) were able to execute what they did extremely well. I was very proud of our kids’ effort to stay with it.”
The Dons (16-3, 3-0) trailed briefly on three occasions in the first quarter, but after Trevanh Fillmore hit a 3-pointer to give them a 13-11 lead, they never trailed again. They appeared in control of the game to close the first half, as Kyryn Blount and Amarie White hit back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 34-23 at halftime.
Palo Duro increased the lead to as much as 15 early in the third quarter, but Hereford (10-10, 2-1) refused to fold. When PD’s Malcolm Aragon came off the bench to hit two threes at the end of the quarter, though, the Dons led 54-37 and appeared to be in total of control.
However, those were the last Palo Duro points somebody other than Ja’Qualyn Gilbreath scored. After Gilbreath scored on a layup to make it 58-40 early in the fourth quarter, the Dons appeared on the verge of giving away the game.
The Herd went on a 12-0 run, ending on a 3-pointer by Caleb Martinez to cut it to 58-52, and Hereford got the ball back with a chance to cut it to four. But the 6-foot Gilbreath blocked a shot by 6-6 Zack Link that seemed to give the Dons life.
On PD’s next trip down the court, Gilbreath scored on an offensive rebound and was fouled, completing a three-point play to make it 61-52 and giving the Dons some room to breathe.
“We’ve got some kids who can really step up and make plays at critical times and Ja’Qualyn is one you can count on to do that,” Evans said.
Gilbreath had 18 points, including all nine of PD’s fourth quarter points, and led the Dons in scoring along with White.
“I’m just playing as hard as I can for my team,” Gilbreath said. “They get me into the game. and are getting me open for some good shots. That’s not all about me.”
Link and 6-8 Parker Lowrey were both major factors inside to keep Hereford in the game, scoring 22 and 18 points apiece.
It was similar to last year’s game between the two teams at PD, which the Dons won 61-57.
It was a fight, but Hereford came up just short again.
“I thought we fought hard,” Hereford coach C.J. Villegas said.
“I can’t question our kids’ effort. (The Dons) did a good job keeping us out of the paint and we weren’t always able to get the shots we wanted.”
Fillmore had 10 points for the Dons.
Palo Duro 63, Hereford 55
Hereford (10-10, 2-1): Rhett Savoini 0 0-0 0, Jonathon Alaniz 1 1-1 3, Zack Link 9 4-6 22, Parker Lowrey 7 4-6 18, Brevin Walker 2 4-6 9, Caleb Martinez 1 0-0 3, Kaleb Suarez 0 0-0 0, Jayce Lewis 0 0-0 0, Isiash Escobal 0 0-2 0. Totals: 20 13-21 55.
Palo Duro (16-3, 3-0): Ja’Qualyn Gilbreath 6 5-5 18 Tyreeke Shepard 0 0-0 0, Amarie White 5 5-8 18, Trevanh Fillmore 4 0-0 10, Desmond Burns 0 2-2 2, Malcolm Aragon 3 0-0 8, Kyryn Blount 1 0-0 3, Ethan Camp 1 2-2 4, Brayan Morales 0 0-0 0, Saber Mou 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20 14-17 63.
Hereford 13 23 37 55
Palo Duro 20 34 54 63
3-point goals: Hereford 2 (Walker 1, Martinez 1), Palo Duro 9 (Gilbreath 1, White 3, Fillmore 2, Aragon 2, Blount 1). Total fouls: Hereford 16, Palo Duro 23. Fouled out: Burns. Technicals: None.
Read original article at: http://amarillo.com/sports/high-school-sports/2016-01-22/dons-target