Grand Junction cruises by Fountain-Fort Carson

With a ruthless, efficient and workmanlike effort Saturday, the Grand Junction High School girls basketball team dismantled Fountain-Fort Carson 67-41 during the final day of the Wildcat Invitational at Fruita Monument High School.

With splendid ball movement, the unselfish Tigers constantly found the open player for easy baskets and quickly turned the game into a rout in the first quarter.

After falling behind 4-0 on two quick layups by the Trojans, the Tigers erupted with methodical efficiency, scoring on 10 straight trips down the court on a 19-0 run.

Sarah Wilkinson scored on consecutive midrange jumpers to put the Tigers up 11-6.

The depth and overall skill level of the undefeated Tigers (6-0) was evident throughout the game as eight different players scored in the first half, and 12 players made the scoring column.

Tori Catlett scored seven points in the first quarter, and when Erika Meister scored off an offensive rebound, the Tigers were up 23-10 at the end of the first quarter.

Ball movement was the key to the Tigers carving up of the Trojans’ zone defense.

“We saw that the middle was open, and our guards did a great job,” Wilkinson said. ‘We played really well together.”

Junior point guard Sydni Brandon was in the mix on virtually every play down the stretch to halftime. She hit a driving layup followed by an offensive-rebound bucket, then she found Gabi Cecere for a layup. After that, Brandon was on the receiving end of a nice assist from Keri Rogers. Just before the half, the 8-0 run was capped by a gorgeous lob pass over the zone from Brandon to Wilkinson for a bucket and a 36-18 lead.

Grand Junction coach Sam Provenza said the athletic point guard just keeps getting better.

“We ask her to do so much, and she does a great job with whatever we ask her to do. She’s gotten so much better,” he said.

Provenza said besides the ball movement, the Tigers’ perimeter defense was the key in limiting the Trojans’ potent outside shooting attack.

“I saw them shoot their way back into a game and put a team away with their outside shooting. Their outside shooting really scared me,” he said.

Amber Perryman was limited to seven points after scoring 20 the previous night for the Trojans.

In the second half, it was more of the same for the Tigers. Working the ball around the perimeter resulted in two long 3-pointers from Brandon, and a high-low attack from the Grand Junction post players led to a number of inside buckets.

Near the end of the third quarter, Wilkinson took a pass near the free-throw line and immediately snapped a quick pass to Catlett, cutting across the baseline for a layup and a 48-33 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Wilkinson, who finished with 13 points, started the fourth with another crisp assist to forward Shafer Rubalcaba.

Brandon made three 3-pointers and finished with 15 points. Catlett added nine points and Rubalcaba eight for the Tigers.


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