SELMA - The Selma boys basketball team further positioned themselves for a Central Sequoia League title after the Bears defeated Immanuel High School 75-73 at home on Jan. 31.

Two days later, Selma defeated Central Valley Christian 86-77 on the road to improve to 7-0 in the CSL standings. The Bears are also 17-8 overall this season. 

As for the win against Immanuel, Selma head coach Mike Pallesi said sweeping the second place team helps the Bears chances of a CSL title.

“That put everybody at two losses and we don’t have any losses [in league],” Pallesi said. “That kind of puts us in a really great [spot].”

The game featured two of the top scorers in the CSL who are Selma’s William Pallesi and Nate Kendricks of Immanuel.

Pallesi and Kendricks each scored 20 points.

Both of them made the varsity teams at their schools as freshman and have played against each other ever since. Pallesi - who will play at UC San Diego next year - said he loves the competitiveness whenever he plays against the Fresno Pacific University commit.

“I like going against Kendricks because he definitely challenges me on my defense,” Pallesi said. “I've got to stay honest, I have to work a lot harder guarding him.”

Will’s coach and father, Mike Pallesi, talked about the performances of the two players after the game.

“There were times Kendricks did well and times Will did well,” Mike Pallesi said. “I thought it was a really good high school basketball game with two really good players going at it. It was very nice.”

Another Selma player that could play at the next level is forward/center Tiveon Stroud. The senior said he plans to attend and play basketball at Wyoming next year.

After the win over Immanuel, Stroud said the victory could lead the Bears to a higher seed in the CIF Central Section Div. II playoffs.

“Immanuel is one of the top teams right now,” Stroud said. “So this is a big win.”

Stroud scored 14 points against Immanuel.

William Pallesi agreed that the win over Immanuel is the biggest of the season so far.

“It puts us in the driver seat to win league,” he said.

Other than Will Pallesi and Stroud, Junior Ramirez and Ashman Dosanjh scored in double digits for the Bears. Ramirez had 14 points along with eight rebounds, five assists and five steals. Dosanjh scored 10 points and recorded three rebounds.

Mike Pallesi commented on the team’s ball movement as a reason for the Bears’ offensive success.

“We’re just multifaceted,” Mike Pallesi said. “When we move the ball, so many things open up. We pass, we cut, we’re just hard to defend because we have so many guys that know how to play the game.”

With two games remaining in the regular season, Mike Pallesi said the team could not afford to lose focus and overlooked its opponents. The team's final two games are against Dinuba and Kingsburg. Dinuba is 17-6 overall and are still playing for a league title with a 5-2 record. Kingsburg is 9-16 overall and 1-6 in league play.

“We've got to play one game at a time,” Mike Pallesi said. “If we slip up and lose to someone we shouldn’t, we’ll drop in the seeding for playoffs. Every game we play from now on is big to win. We don’t have to win by a lot but we just have to keep winning.”

Selma had 21 turnovers against Immanuel, which is a reason Mike Pallesi said the team didn’t play well even though the Bears won. With a current five-game winning streak, Pallesi said the team has yet to play to a complete game.

“We didn’t play well tonight [versus Immanuel] and still won,” he said. “[We had] 21 turnovers. That’s not like us.”

On Tuesday, the Bears played Exeter at home and the next game for Selma will be on the road against Dinuba on Thursday, Feb. 8. The Bears will play in the regular-season finale against rival Kingsburg at home on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

Note: Article doesn’t include result of the Selma/Exeter game since game was played after deadline of this week’s print edition.

Jeremiah Martinez can be reached at 583-2413 or jmartinez@hanfordsentinel.co