The hot hand
Robinson's shooting fuels GJ's win
Broderick Robinson got in one of those rhythms Tuesday night where if he got the ball in space, he shot the ball. And if he shot the ball, it was going into the basket.
The Grand Junction High School junior guard singed the nets in the first half for 22 of his game-high 28 points as the Tigers held off a scrappy Central team for 66-52 victory.
The Tigers (10-3, 2-0 Southwestern League) needed Robinson’s hot hand — he hit five 3-pointers, four in the second quarter when he dropped in 17 points — because Central got plenty of open shots from beyond the arc, too. The Warriors (6-10, 1-2) made eight 3-pointers, including Clay Squier’s from the left wing with 5 minutes, 58 seconds left in the game to cut Grand Junction’s lead to 51-46.
That was as close as Central got, though, thanks to Robinson’s turn-around jumper from the free-throw line and a floater he hit in the lane. Zach Kiel then added a layup and a short shot on a nice pass to the post, putting Grand Junction back in control, 61-50, with 2:08 left.
“He’s shooting the ball so well from 3 right now; that makes him so darn hard to guard,” Grand Junction coach Dutch Johnson said of Robinson. “He’s had quarters like (the second quarter), where he just goes off. Thankfully he did, because Central kept knocking down shots.” The Warriors’s defense, in particular Edward Becoat, slowed Robinson down in the second half, but that allowed Kiel to come through with 13 points, including seven in the fourth quarter, en route to 15 points.
Trey Fair led Central with 18 points, including 10 in the third quarter and 14 in the second half.
For all of Central’s success from beyond the 3-point arc, Warriors coach Ryan Hayden said, “We left a lot of easy buckets on the floor ... and we left a lot of easy points at the foul line.”
Central made only four of 16 free throws.
Montrose 58, Fruita Monument 57, OT: In a bizarre ending, Montrose guard Angelo Youngren hit the front-end of a one-and-one free-throw opportunity with no time left in overtime to win the game in Montrose.
As the clock neared zero, Youngren heaved a deep 3-point attempt that missed. After huddling for more than a minute, the officials determined the foul occurred on the ground, not in the act of shooting, before time expired.
“We had numerous opportunities to seal the game at different points,” Fruita coach Billy Dreher said.
Youngren finished the game with eight points and Ben Cruz led Montrose with 18 points.
Fruita was led by Spencer Fair with 22 points and Donny Thornhill chipped in 16 points.
“We lost a game just like this against Durango, and it’s tough losing two games in a row like this,” Dreher said. “We needed this game coming in. We missed numerous rebounds down the stretch that we needed to get.”
Grand Junction’s defense, whether it was a full-court press or its half-court defense, stifled Central as the Tigers beat the Warriors 51-20.
“I just like the way our defense played the whole game,” Grand Junction coach Sam Provenza said. “We were creating turnovers. We just weren’t getting any finishes at the end of them. Central was getting back on defense; they’re the reason we weren’t getting finishes.”
The Tigers (10-2, 1-1 SWL) limited Central to four points in each of the first three quarters, taking a 24-8 halftime lead and 38-12 lead after three quarters.
Sara Wilkinson led the Tigers with 13 points, including 10 in the second half, when Grand Junction did a good job in its half-court set of working the ball inside to its post players.
“That’s been our focus the last couple of practices, to get the ball inside,” Provenza said.
Delta 55, Palisade 33: Callie Gafford had a game-high 22 points, and Skylyn Webb added 17 points as host Delta (8-3, 6-0 4A Western Slope League) ran its winning streak to eight games.
Cruz Maestas led Palisade (5-7, 4-3) with eight points.
Delta ran a matchup zone in which the Panthers essentially guarded whomever came into their area. It worked, with numerous steals, many of which were by Webb, who often played at the top of the zone.
“They really struggled with the matchup zone, a lot of teams do,” Delta coach Matt Hamm said. “Our goal was to hold them to 35 points. We barely got that.”
Palisade won a pair of Western Slope League duals Tuesday at Battle Mountain, defeating Eagle Valley 48-33 and Battle Mountain 57-24.
Pins fueled both team victories as the Bulldogs won all eight of their matches against Eagle Valley by pin. Against Battle Mountain, the Bulldogs won six matches by pin, three by forfeit and one by decision.