GROWING IN STATURE, Warriors cruise to victory

Central High School’s Kahler Grandbouche, 15, is fouled beneath the basket by Douglas County’s Alex Haigh during the second half of Friday’s game of the Warrior Challenge at Central.

For a few seasons, the Central High School boys basketball team, because of a lack of height, had to settle for competing with a perimeter shooting and a transition game.

With a couple of taller players gracing the Warriors’ lineup this season, they’ve been able to play a stronger game down low.

Ironically, that’s done a masterful job of helping the Warriors’ outside game.

Both and inside and outside games were clicking Friday as Central (2-0) rolled past Douglas County 71-37 at the Warrior Challenge at Central.

“The guards are penetrating,” Warriors head coach Phil Cain said.

That leaves perimeter shooters open with good looks at the basket.

The player with the best looks Friday was Michael Wiedrich.

“I think my role’s as a spot-up shooter,” Wiedrich said.

He was spot-on against Douglas County, scoring a game-high 20 points, including four 3-pointers.

“He’s really matured,” Cain said of his senior shooting guard. “He knows his shots within the system. He’s got a great percentage, too.”

Cain viewed a four-point swing in a six-second span in the final minute of the first half as a major catalyst. With Central leading 28-17, the Warriors got a pair of free throws from Vandon Sanchez. Blaine Jackson got a steal and scored a quick bucket to give his team a 32-17 lead.

Central really opened it up in the third quarter, forcing 11 turnovers and allowing Douglas County only four shots in the first four minutes of the quarter. Although the Warriors scored 16 points during that span, it was the defense that sparked things.

“We just wanted our intensity up. They played with energy and they moved their feet,”
Cain said of his emphasis at halftime.

“We like to be a third-quarter team (and) put them away in the second half,” Wiedrich said.
Wiedrich had his moments, but at least five Warriors scored more than seven points, giving the offense the inside-outside balance Cain has been seeking.

Kahler Grandbouche scored 10 points and had six rebounds. Travis Key had seven rebounds, as did Josh Wells.

“It helps us defensively,” Cain said. “Because they’re playing so well, it allows our guards to pressure.”

That showed in Douglas County’s 29 turnovers.

“We’ve been working on our transition game a lot,” Wiedrich said.

No longer saplings trying to intermingle with the redwoods, the Warriors are enjoying the newfound balance.

“It’s nice not being the shrimps any more,” Wiedrich said.

Central will get its sternest test of the tournament today when it takes on Bear Creek at 1:30 p.m.


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