Central shows some spunk in loss

The nine-month offseason felt like a few minutes for Central High School boys basketball coach Ryan Hayden.

He’s on a mission to change the entire culture of a basketball program that limped to a 0-24 record last year.

And although a 57-50 loss to Legacy (1-0) on Thursday night during the Warrior Challenge wasn’t ideal, it’s a start. Central (0-1) opened the game with a 6-0 run and led until partway through the third quarter.

Leading that deep into a game was a major milestone for the Warriors, Hayden said. Central’s toughness and commitment to defense was on display against Legacy.

“We’ve been working on teaching them about the mental grind of basketball, about how a season can take a toll on you,” Hayden said. “We need to ingrain the way to do things right, and ultimately that will lead to success.

“Last year we preached that and the team generally cared for each other, but this group is closer, and they’ve embraced hard work.”

The offseason brought together a more unified squad. The Warriors returned six seniors and six Central players had five points or more. Trey Fair and Clayton Squire led Central with 11 points each. Preston Grandbouche had seven assists.

“We just spent the entire offseason working on defense,” Grandbouche said. “We’ve really come together as a group. We’re all friends. Last year we had all our little groups. This year we’re cohesive.”

Grandbouche and Fair were in foul trouble early, limiting what Central could do offensively, as well as hindering on-court leadership. Hayden said he expects the two team leaders to have more of an impact against Delta.

“Our defense was really solid and I think the scoreboard reflected that,” Hayden said. “It was nice for our guys to see how nice the scoreboard is to you if you go hard. That said, I think we had a lapse in the third quarter in our offensive game plan and that really hurt us.”

Lewis-Palmer 57, Palisade 27: Adding to a day of coaching debuts, Palisade’s Brian Tafel and the Bulldogs lost to the No. 1-ranked team in Class 4A, Lewis-Palmer.

Luke McLean led Palisade (0-1) with six points.

Lewis-Palmer (1-0) had a decided height advantage, and was led in scoring by its 6-foot-6 players, Justin Smith, who had 18 points, and Jordan Scott, who had 15.

Palisade trailed 21-11 after a first quarter in which Skyler Miller and Tass Crow each hit a 3-pointer.

But in the end, Lewis-Palmer’s rebounding advantage and shooting ability drowned Palisade.

“I think it was a great opportunity to play a great team and get better,” Tafel said. “We need to get to where we can compete against those teams.”

By the fourth quarter, Lewis-Palmer had Palisade figured out offensively ­— the Bulldogs did not score in the quarter.

But Palisade at times frustrated the state’s No. 1 team with scrappy defense. There were plays such as Caden Woods’ chase-down of Scott in the fourth quarter. Woods caught up Scott on a fast break and poked the ball off Scott’s leg and out of bounds.

“The point of playing them in the tourney,” Tafel said, “is seeing where you’re at and what you need to work on.”

Grand Junction 66, Fountain-Fort Carson 53: D.J. Wells and Zach Kiel easily handled a much smaller Fountain-Fort Carson (0-1) defense down low, combining for 26 points in the post to lead Grand Junction (1-0) to a season-opening win.

Broderick Robinson scored a team-high 19 points and pushed the pace for the Tigers even when Fountain-Fort Carson ran five-guard sets. In a two-minute span during the fourth quarter, Robinson blocked a shot, came up with a steal, hit a 3-pointer and deep 2-pointer back-to-back. The Tigers hit six 3-pointers. 

“I think it was great for some of our bigs who don’t necessarily guard on the perimeter to get that experience.” Grand Junction coach Dutch Johnson said. “I know in this league that will be the case on a lot of nights. It’s particularly useful for (today) against Legacy where we have some size on them and will have to be out there on the perimeter.”

Despite pushing the pace against Fountain-Fort Carson, Johnson said it’s his team’s defense that will carry the Tigers this season.

“I thought our half-court defense was really good tonight,” he said. “We built a 10-point lead, and the only reason they got back in it was our turnovers and offensive mistakes. I thought our defense showed up tonight.”

Grand Junction also struggled from the line, going 12 of 22, including an 0-for-7 stretch late in the fourth. The Tigers made up for it by forcing six turnovers in 12 possessions down the stretch.

COMMENTS

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.







Check out most popular special sections!










THE DAILY SENTINEL
734 S. Seventh St.
Grand Junction, CO 81501
970-242-5050
Editions
Subscribe to print edition
E-edition
Advertisers
Sign in to your account
Information

© 2014 Grand Junction Media, Inc.
By using this site you agree to the Visitor Agreement and the Privacy Policy