Las Vegas Sun

July 29, 2014

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hs basketball:

Young Palo Verde squad relies on veteran point guard, keeps winning

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Palo Verde basketball players Bronston Abad, Eris Winder, Nathan Grimes and Nahjee Matlock.

Prep Sports Now

Stakes are raised with regular season winding down

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Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Case Keefer and Ray Brewer take a look around Las Vegas at the teams that are peaking at the right time. They also break down some of the week's most important contests.

This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Palo Verde High basketball team.

After graduating 10 players from last year’s squad that lost in the Sunset Regional finals, the Panthers had to start from scratch with a core group of players with limited experience.

But they returned one starter — unheralded point guard Bronston Abad. That seems to be enough.

Palo Verde improved to 10-1 in the Northwest Division on Monday with a 93-79 victory against host Cimarron-Memorial.

Nahjee Matlock led the Panthers with 25 points, Jordyn Martin had 13 and Eris Winder had 11. Mitchell Scott and Abad each also reached doubled figures with 10 points.

Abad, a four-year varsity performer, is rarely one of Palo Verde’s statistical leaders. But for coach Jermone Riley, that doesn’t matter.

“I always say your team is as good as your leaders, and Bronston Abad is the glue of our team,” Riley said. “He is like another coach on the floor. He’s a good guy. He’s great with our younger players.”

Two years ago, Palo Verde lost in the final seconds of the state championship game to Bishop Gorman by one point. Another deep playoff run could be in the cards again this season — something Riley knows comes as a surprise to some.

Just not his players. They had every intention of staying atop the Northwest standings.

“We have players that believe,” Riley said. “They believe in each other and they believe in the coaching. Some of our guys put in the work in the offseason and they are being rewarded for it.”

Against Cimarron, Palo Verde led from virtually start to finish. Cimarron made the game interesting in the third quarter, but Palo Verde didn’t back down.

At 9-3 in the Northwest, Cimarron is still firmly in control of the No. 3 seed for the regional tournament in two weeks.

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