Robinson’s solid game helps Tigers top Sanchez, Warriors
It took the Central High School boys basketball team six minutes Tuesday to score a point. It took the Warriors 10 minutes to make a field goal.
But the Warriors did not quit, falling short to rival Grand Junction 65-51.
After the rough start, Central (0-17, 0-4 Southwestern League) battled back by taking Grand Junction (10-6, 3-1) defenders off the dribble. It’s something coach Dutch Johnson said the Tigers have struggled to defend all season.
“I think we’re giving up too many layups,” Johnson said. “That’s not guarding the ball and being bad off the ball. We’ve given up too many scores in the paint throughout this season. I don’t know if we were lazy or what.
“(The Warriors) do a good job. They had 15 points (in the second quarter) and I bet six of those buckets were just putting it on the floor and taking it all the way to the rim.”
Despite giving up inside buckets during the first half, the Tigers, who average 9.3 steals per game, rattled off 12 steals in the third quarter alone to extend their lead to 16 heading into the fourth quarter. Central hung around and pulled within eight points with three minutes left in the game.
“We just need that killer instinct,” Johnson said. “We had a 22-point lead and they cut it to 12. It comes down to stops for us to perform on both sides of the ball. We have to make multiple stops to go on runs and really put teams away.”
Grand Junction finished with six 3-pointers, three from leading scored Broderick Robinson. Robison finished with 17 points, Casey Burns added 14 and Garrett Harrison had 10 points and led the team with five assists.
For Central, it’s a matter of finding offensive cohesion under first-year coach Ryan Hayden. The Warriors have averaged just more than 40 points a game, and might have found their rhythm against Grand Junction behind the penetration of Taylor Sanchez and the shooting of Angel Galindo.
“Offensively we’ve started coming together, and that just comes from hard work,” Hayden said. “We’re just having trouble getting our offense and defense working together. It seems like when one is going the other isn’t; they’re not going at the same time.
“It’s the little things. We’ve had looks, but once we get both the offense and defense going, the little things take care of themselves.”
Sanchez finished with 14 points and Galindo added 11.
Both teams have to prepare for matchups against top league foes on Friday. Central plays league-leading Fruita and Grand Junction hosts Montrose.
“They’re a good team,” Johnson said. “Montrose is a team that likes to get out and run, so we have to be strong in our transition defense and quit giving up buckets in the paint.”
Fruita Monument 60, Montrose 48: Montrose rallied in the third quarter to tie the game at 34-34, but Fruita (14-2, 4-0 SWL) pulled away behind Drew Bridges’ 19 points.
James Lewis chipped in 15 points for Fruita.
Nathan Hawley led Montrose (14-3, 3-1) with 17 points.
“We showed perseverance at the end,” Fruita coach Dave Fox said. “And we got a great game from James Lewis.”