The Palisades High School girls basketball team blew away the competition in its first two regular season games last week, winning 81-52 against Venice High School and 80-35 against University High School.
Against Venice on Jan. 11, senior guard Chelsey Gipson, who won Player of the Game honors, scored 36 points, including eight three-point baskets. Guards Kayla Williams and Chaniya Pickett added 17 and 16 points respectively, to combine with Gipson for all but 12 of Pali’s 81 points.
In addition, 5-foot-10 freshman forward Jane Nwaba grabbed 12 rebounds and scored 5 points, while 5-foot-11 senior forward Caytlnn Gorden nabbed 8 rebounds to help bring the team’s win-loss record to 14-6 overall.
Although the team has had a successful season thus far, Coach Torino Johnson said he isn’t concerned with wins and losses, but instead focuses on improvement. “We’re working on everything,” Johnson said. “Simply put, we’re trying to get better on both ends of the court . . . Little by little, we’re trying to have a fundamental discipline out on the floor.”
On Jan. 9, the team’s feisty commitment showed as the girls fought for each possession and eventually wore down University High’s team, which only scored four points in each of the last two quarters after starting the game with 14 in the first quarter and 13 in the second period.
Throughout the game, PaliHi took the lead, and by game’s end, the team’s reserves even had a chance to get in some playing time. In the first quarter, PaliHi outscored Uni 29-14 with Gipson sinking 10 points in the first and adding 12 in the second quarter on the way to scoring a team-high 27 points.
Williams and Pickett again had good games, contributing 23 and 10 points respectively, while Nwaba scored 12 points and sophomore guard Leily Martin added 8. Nwaba also led with 14 rebounds, while Williams had 4 steals.
As the regular season continues, the girls will face three home games this month: LACES at 4:30 p.m. today, Westchester at 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 25, and their second game against University on Jan. 27 at 5 p.m. In addition, the team will play away games against Fairfax at 5 p.m. on Jan. 20 and Hamilton at 5 p.m. on Jan. 23 with a second battle against Venice at 4:30 p.m. on January 30.