Robinson’s dunks fuel Tigers’ win

Grand Junction had just defeated the Durango High School boys basketball team 57-38. Two teenagers in street clothes took turns charging down the lane at Grand Junction High School, trying to dunk. Almost did, too. Not quite like Broderick Robinson.

The Tigers’ junior guard highlighted his team’s win Friday with the first two dunks of his high school career on his first two attempts as Grand Junction (11-3, 3-0 Southwestern League) broke the tie with Durango (8-4, 2-1) atop the league standings.

Robinson, who scored a game-high 17 points, notched his first dunk in the second quarter. Nose to nose with Robinson at Durango’s end of the court, the Demons’ Ty Elliott tried a cross-over dribble. At the end of the dribble, Robinson stuck a hand out and tapped the ball behind Elliott, then gathered the ball and dunked one-handed. Such a steal in basketball slang is called “cookies.” With Robinson’s finish, call it cookies and milk.

“I always joke with him,” Tigers coach Dutch Johnson said, “and tell him, ‘You can’t jump high enough to dunk.’ He definitely proved me wrong on that first one. Because he got up.”

Fast-break points were what Grand Junction did best in the second half — create steals on defense, in particular with speedy guard Greg Eccher or 6-foot-7 sophomore D.J. Wells, who had six blocks.

“Blocks are in my blood,” Wells said. “When I see a shooter, I want to go out and stuff him. That’s what I love to do.”

Wells also had 10 points.

Henry Carmichael, who had been starting, came off the bench for 10 points, including two 3-pointers and numerous steals.

Wearing knee pads that stretched just short of his neon orange socks and ankle braces, Carmichael looked the part of the scrapper. In the final minute of the first quarter, he took a charge and stole a pass. In the second quarter, Carmichael hit a 3-pointer, tied up Elliott for a jump ball and reached into the dribble of Durango guard Dominique Ward, causing Ward to travel.

Shortly after being inserted into the game in the third quarter, he sank a transition 3-pointer to put the Tigers up 27-12.

“I’ve had some bad games lately,” Carmichael said. “I wanted to come out strong and play the way I started the year.”

In the fourth quarter, Durango went on a 12-2 run to cut Grand Junction’s lead to 51-38 with two minutes remaining.

But after Durango fouled, the Tigers hit four free throws.

All told, Grand Junction was 17 of 21 from the foul line.

Robinson was two for two on dunks. His second, another one-handed dunk, came in the third quarter, once again off his own steal.

The Tigers held Durango to single digits in scoring in each of the first three quarters. It’s the defense Johnson wants to see. He’d also like to witness a different type of Robinson dunk.

“He says he’s going to get some dunks in traffic,” Johnson said. “I told him it’ll never happen.”

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