Grand Junction boys take fifth in Tip-Off

HIGHLANDS RANCH — The Grand Junction High School boys basketball team is going to spend much of the season centering its offense around Broderick Robinson’s skills.

As the Tigers proved Saturday, however, they can also be effective in the half court.

With Robinson tallying only six points, Grand Junction still managed to roll past Rocky Mountain 46-32 to take fifth place in the Heritage/ThunderRidge Tip-Off Classic.

“At times Broderick’s going to control the ball,” Johnson said of setting up isolation plays for his junior point guard, who leads the team in scoring this season.

Robinson struggled from the field Saturday, so the Tigers went to their second option: their half-court offense. The key to that is ball movement, which the Tigers executed effectively.

“It’s because they are so unselfish,” Johnson said of his team’s success in the half court.

Coming off a victory over Heritage on Friday in which the Tigers faltered a bit in the fourth quarter, Johnson emphasized two things Saturday.

“First, we took care of the ball,” he said, something they didn’t do in turning the ball over seven times in the fourth against Heritage. “Number two, we guarded the ball. We did a much better job on dribble penetration.”

That forced Rocky Mountain, coached by former Fruita Monument standout Jon Rakiecki, to take primarily 3-point attempts. The Lobos connected on just three of 20 tries in the first half as the Tigers led 19-9 at the break.

Even more impressive for Grand Junction (4-2) is it won its final two games of the tournament without Henry Carmichael. The junior starter sustained an ankle injury during warmups before Friday’s game.

In stepped Kyler Rose. Normally one of the first big players off the bench, Rose produced 10 points and a couple of big offensive rebounds Saturday.

Rose adheres to his coach’s offensive game plan.

“We move the ball around well,” he said, echoing Johnson’s phrase of “unselfish” as being the primary factor.

“Kyler may average three points a game, but he does so many other things,” Johnson said of Rose’s contribution on both ends of the court.

On the defensive side, Rose was helped thwart the Lobos’ attempts at dribble penetration.

“Better off-ball defense is what we had today,” he said.

Zach Kiel used some strong moves inside to score a team-high 11 points, with sophomore D.J. Wells showing some strong post moves in adding eight points.

“He’s a sophomore who’s gotten better every game,” Johnson said of Wells. “He’s making strides.”

Next up for the Tigers is Mountain Range in Thursday’s first round of the Douglas County tournament.

Fruita Monument 41, Rifle 35: Spencer Fair scored 12 points to lead Fruita Monument (3-3) past Rifle at the Steamboat Springs Tournament. Dylan Row and Matt Story each knocked down two 3-pointers for the Wildcats.

Central 63 Mountain View 61, OT: Edward Becoat scored 18 points, Trey Fair scored 12 and Preston Grandbouche added 10 as the Warriors won in overtime.

Plateau Valley 60, Nucla 26: Fernando Enriquez scored 22 points, and Kyler Smith added 16 to lead the Cowboys, who outscored Nucla by at least six points in every quarter.


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