Derrieux leads Tigers to victory over Panthers

Grand Junction’s Shafer Rubalcaba, 15, flinches Tuesday as she pauses to let Delta’s Patti Chapman move past her before taking a shot during the second half of the Tigers’ 66-48 victory over the Panthers.

She was the game’s primary clapper, high-five slapper and instructor of teammates, but Jamie Derrieux made the most noise on the scoreboard Tuesday.

The Grand Junction guard’s 25 points helped the Tigers defeat Delta, 66-48.

As far as the outspoken nature, that’s just who Derrieux is.

She’s the co-president of the student body (along with Garrett Harrison, a guard on the boys squad) and the main cog in a Tigers’ offense that thrives on motion.

She also benefitted sophomore Shafer Rubalcaba, who added 16 points.

Delta point guard Skylyn Webb, who had 13 points, led Delta to leads until late in the first quarter as Grand Junction tried to figure out Delta’s matchup zone defense.

“We didn’t lose focus or panic,” Tigers coach Sam Provenza said. “They stayed with what they were supposed to do. As coaches, we stayed positive and didn’t go ballistic.”

Grand Junction took its first lead at 18-17, about the time it sorted through Delta’s matchup defense. Once the Tigers (3-1) read Delta’s cards, however, it was “rummy” the rest of the way.

“Once we figured out their defense, we did what we do defensively,” Derrieux said, “which is work hard and fly around.”

The Tigers took a 40-27 lead into halftime.

“I’m real happy we put up 40 first-half points,” Provenza said. “We worked the ball, distributed the ball and got a lot of transition baskets.”

The Tigers went on a 10-0 run in the second quarter that began with a 3-pointer by Derrieux and ended with a Derrieux layup.

But she did more than that. Derrieux made sure teammates were in their proper places. She swooped through the Delta defense, telling teammates to move through picks, and on defense, she slapped passes away and dropped a heavy hand on shot attempts, finishing with two blocks.

In the fourth quarter, after weaving through the defense and drawing a foul before sinking one of two free throws, Derrieux headed to the bench, her night over with the Tigers up 59-39.

Then she sat at the right hand of Provenza.

The learning wasn’t over.

“That’s just her being a leader,” Provenza said. “She wanted to know what she did wrong, and what she could do better.”

The Tigers started freshman Sydni Brandon, as well as Rubalcaba, who thrived on short jump shots off dribble penetration from Derrieux or Kricket Adleman.

“(Brandon) has played better every game,” Provenza said. “She’s just trying to get a feel of what we do as a team.”

Rubalcaba also is trying to adjust to her first season on varsity.

“It’s definitely a different atmosphere I have to get used to,” Rubalcaba said. “I’m just glad to get in and I know my teammates trust me.”



UP NEXT: Grand Junction vs. Cherokee Trail,  4 p.m. Thursday at Fruita Monument High School


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