Buchholz forward Zion Newkirk holds the ball in front of a Santa Fe defender. Newkirk had 14 points in the Bobcats' win.

Buchholz dominates the paint to beat Santa Fe

The Buchholz Bobcats led for nearly the entire game Thursday with a strong defensive showing to beat the visiting Santa Fe Raiders, 53-46.

The win moves the Bobcats to 2-0 in the boys basketball season, a strong start for first-year head coach Elliot Harris.

Deadlock early on

Both teams struggled to get an outside shot going early on, with Santa Fe’s full-court press forcing several turnovers from the Bobcats’ guards.


Bobcats forward Palmer Watson scored through contact to get an and-1 layup, giving Buchholz its first lead at 5-2. 

However, Watson picked up a technical foul shortly after for arguing with a referee, giving Santa Fe a free throw, possession and momentum. 

Santa Fe (1-2) went up 10-5 off a series of fast break layups, but Buchholz clawed back before the end of the quarter to tie the score at 10-10. 

Buchholz picks up steam

A free throw put Santa Fe up 13-12 early in the second period, the Raiders still pressing the Bobcats high up the court.

The Bobcats took a timeout and Harris changed his team’s offensive approach after the Bobcats missed seven of their first eight 3-point attempts.

Now trapping the Raiders’ with double teams and pounding the paint on offense, Buchholz took control before halftime and went into the break with a 25-20 lead.

Bobcats forward Zion Newkirk began contributing to his team-high 14 points in this period, along with several key rebounds over multiple Santa Fe forwards.

Bucholz guard Noah Taylor (14) calls for a pass from Zion Newkirk

Breaking away in the third quarter, Newkirk and Watson were impressive on defense throughout to keep the Raiders from easy points.

Closing out strong

Although Santa Fe showed some fight to keep the deficit at 36-31 at the start of the final period, the game was put to rest from there.

Newkirk found the ball on a fast break and landed an emphatic dunk followed by two more layups from the forward who put Buchholz up 45-33.

After the teams traded free-throw attempts for the final five minutes, the Bobcats dribbled out the clock to claim the win.

Up Next

Buchholz faces Fort White (2-0) away at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Santa Fe stays on the road to play Newberry on Monday at 7:30 p.m.

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