Sand Creek hands GJ boys first loss

LITTLETON — The Grand Junction High School boys basketball team came into this weekend’s Mullen Invitational knowing that if it was going to get better this season, it needed to get challenged.

The Tigers got a little more challenge than they had hoped Friday as Sand Creek hit free throw after free throw to defeat No. 10 Grand Junction 63-59 in double overtime.

The Tigers had their chances, including potential game-winning tries at the end of regulation and the first overtime.

But the Scorpions hung tough and hit their shots down the stretch.

Grand Junction led by as many as nine midway through the third quarter, but the Tigers’ offense stalled a bit and Sand Creek took advantage.

The Scorpions posed two challenges in particular, with athletic and physical Langston Bell using his strength to power his way to 16 points.

The big threat, however, was guard Dylan Clark, who scored 33 points — including a trio of 3-pointers and, more importantly, hitting all 12 of his free throws.

Coach Dutch Johnson was pleased with the Tigers’ effort.

“I was happy with our offense,” he said, qualifying that by saying that Sand Creek was able to creep back into the game when the Tigers played more to protect the lead than to add to it.

Much of that came from the Tigers switching their offense from ball movement to more isolation to get the ball inside to DJ Wells, who scored 24 points for Grand Junction. Broderick Robinson also had 24 points for the Tigers before fouling out.

Ridge Droskin had only one basket, but played a key role in the Tigers’ ability to work the ball around the perimeter. Still, he saw room for improvement.

“I think we can always get better movement off the ball,” he said.

“We needed this game,” Johnson said. “I told the kids, there’s no such thing as a good loss, but we’ll be better for this.”

They get a chance to prove it at 1 p.m. today when they play for the third-place trophy against Bear Creek.


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