HARRISBURG – Central Dauphin freshman Malachi Palmer readily admits that he’s starting to feel more comfortable with each and every varsity start.
That bit of news is likely making Mid-Penn Commonwealth Division and future District 3, 6A opponents quite uncomfortable.
Meet Malachi Palmer, the Central Dauphin freshman basketball player who could be destined for stardom
Palmer, nationally ranked as the 10th best prospect in the Class of 2024, poured in a game-high 18 points to lead the Rams to a 77-48 victory over Harrisburg in a Commonwealth Division contest Tuesday night.
“My teammates have been helping me find my rhythm during games. I’m starting to play more like myself,” said Palmer, who also connected for 19 points in last Saturday’s victory over the Cougars in Harrisburg.
Palmer and the majority of Rams starters spent most of the fourth quarter on the bench after unleashing a 9-0 run to start the second half. Central Dauphin outscored Harrisburg 24-7 in the third quarter, paced by 9 points from Palmer and 6 from senior De’Von Haggans to open a 61-30 edge and trigger the running-clock mercy rule.
“That’s kind of been our mark this season, we go in and make adjustments and try to apply them right away and today was no different,” said Central Dauphin head coach Wayne Fletcher. “It led to us going on that 9-0 run.”
Central Dauphin (8-1, 7-0) has won eight consecutive games since an opening night overtime loss to Reading. The Rams host Cumberland Valley Wednesday night in a Commonwealth Division showdown. Harrisburg fell to 4-4 overall and 4-3 in divisional play after the back-to-back losses to CD.
Palmer wasn’t the only one to shine.
Four Central Dauphin players registered double figures –- Donovan Hill finished with 17 points, including four trifectas. Haggans poured in 16 and again was a force on the boards, doing the dirty work in the paint to grab rebounds and block shots. Ryan Smith added 11.
Janye Stanley topped Harrisburg’s scoring attack with 13 points and Markel Horne chipped in 11 more.
Palmer and Haggans paced the third quarter run that blew the game open, but the Rams came out from the opening tap ready to take care of business.
Central Dauphin went on an 11-1 skein to open the contest, led by 7 from Donovan Hill and 5 five from Ryan Smith. The Rams opened a 25-7 edge after eight minutes and were never really tested after that.
THEY SAID IT
“It felt good to be out there and help my team win and buying into coach Fletcher’s system definitely helps. We got some rhythm (in the third quarter) and we went from there.” – Central Dauphin freshman Malachi Palmer.
“It’s just a mentality that we’ve brought to CD after all these years with coach Fletcher. I think we’re finally becoming what we need to be and showing everyone who we are. There’s no doubt in my mind that we can do it against anybody. We’re that type of team. We have all the pieces, we have people coming off the bench who contribute in every which way. It’s just the type of team we are. We really can do anything and I don’t see any team sticking with us when we’re at our best.” – Central Dauphin senior Da’Von Haggans.
(On Donovan Hill): “That what he does with his size, his athleticism and his ability to shoot the ball, there’s no telling what he can do to contribute, whether it’s rebounding, blocking shots or shooting threes.
(On the difference between this year’s and last year’s squad): “I feel over the years, and this is only year three, (the difference has been) the building of confidence and understanding and belief. Now these guys believe they can play at the highest level every night out. Year one, it was hope. Year two, we started to understand that it can happen. And now in year three, they believe it can happen every single night.” – Central Dauphin head coach Wayne Fletcher.
Harrisburg 07 15 07 18 – 48
Central Dauphin 25 12 24 16 – 77
COUGARS (4-4) – Albert House 1, Avery Cloud 5, Janye Stanley 13, Markel Horne 11, Nahleigh Thompson 5, Loyal Riley 3, Yahsier Holmes 3.
RAMS (8-1) – De’Von Haggans 16, Andrew Renaldi 2, Justice Easter 8, Malachi Palmer 18, Ryan Smith 11, Keon Dockens 2, Donovan Hill 17, Darrien Berrios-Rivera 3.