Robinson's all-around effort lifts GJ to Warrior Challenge win
Broderick Robinson’s stat line requires a deep breath before reading aloud.
The senior guard finished with 19 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and two steals Friday night to lift the Grand Junction boys basketball team to a 58-40 win over Legacy at the Warrior Challenge.
It was the second time coach Dutch Johnson faced his brother, Gunnar Johnson, during their coaching careers and the second time Dutch Johnson won.
The Tigers’ coach joked after the game that “I want my brother to win every game but one.”
It took Robinson roughly a minute to hit his first 3-pointer, and with 3-pointers from Greg Eccher and Ben Volkmann, Grand Junction took an 11-2 lead.
The Lightning (2-1) closed the gap to 11-8, but that was as close as they’d get.
With two minutes left in the first quarter, Grand Junction (2-0) started a 14-1 run that lasted until there was 1:30 left in the second quarter.
Robinson sparked the run, compiling 14 of his points by midway through the second quarter.
But it wasn’t just his scoring that carried the Tigers, it was also his defense. Robinson was at the head of a defense that limited Legacy to only six points in the second quarter.
“I kind of challenged him a little bit this offseason by telling him that his brother Everett was our best defender and that he always guarded the other team’s best player,” Johnson said. “I think he’s really taken that to heart. He’s improved his entire game.
“In practice we’ve almost had a few broken noses because he has such great vision and does a great job finding guys no matter where they are on the court. He’s really made an effort to improve as a player, and not just be a scorer.”
A 3-pointer and a quick layup by Legacy closed the gap to 34-14 at halftime.
The Tigers opened the second half draining 3-pointers, finishing with seven in all, before big man D.J. Wells took over.
Wells ended the first half with only two points on a poor shooting performance. But in the second half he erupted for 10 points, finishing with 12, and also grabbed 10 rebounds.
The only downside for Wells was a 2-for-7 performance at the free-throw line.
“He’s just short-arming it,” Johnson said. “It’s all mental with him and it’s something that we’re working on with him.”
Although early season basketball is known to be ugly, the Tigers have cruised to wins in their first two games. Robinson said although Grand Junction’s chemistry is solid, it’s not quite perfect.
“You know, it’s still a little bit of a work in progress,” Robinson said. “Those are two big wins for us against quality teams from the other side of the mountains, but we still have a few things that we need to work on.”
The Tigers close out the Warrior Challenge against Delta today at 3:15.