Wiedrich’s big shots help Warriors get past rival Tigers
Central High School’s Michael Wiedrich is a force from behind the 3-point arc.
The Grand Junction High School boys basketball team (9-6, 3-1 Southwestern League) found out the hard way as Wiedrich hit three clutch deep shots in the second quarter to help the Warriors (13-3, 3-1 SWL) to a 58-41 home victory.
After taking a 22-9 lead midway through the quarter, Wiedrich nailed the trio of big 3-pointers in only about a 1:30 to push the Warriors lead to 31-12 late in the half.
“Michael got into a rhythm and he is a great shooter when he is in a rhythm,” Central coach Phil Cain said. “He twisted his ankle at the end of the half so he never got back into that rhythm, but he did a great job tonight.”
Wiedrich finished 13 points, 11 in the second quarter.
“The momentum was starting to shift their way so we really needed something,” Wiedrich said. “My teammates did a great job of finding me in transition and I was able to shift the momentum back our way.”
Grand Junction coach Dutch Johnson said the 3-point onslaught really hurt at that point in the game.
“When Wiedrich hit three in a row, that was a back-breaker,” Johnson said. “He is a shooter and you have to be there when he catches it and have your hands up. If you give him any room at all, he will hit it.”
But it wasn’t just Wiedrich, as the Warriors received another solid game from Clay Kame and sixth man Sean Citlau, who had nine points in the first half.
“We build off of each other,” Wiedrich said. “We work off of each others success. We play as a team and don’t have any individual superstars.”
It was a team effort on defense that really propelled the Warriors to the victory. Central held Grand Junction leading scorers Everett Robinson and Geoff Baldwin to a combined three points in the first half.
“We tried to play good defense and control Robinson and Baldwin,” Cain said. “Our big guys were active. Travis Key had a great game rebounding.”
But a consummate scorer, Robinson led a Tigers run in the second half. Behind Robinson’s 11 third-quarter points, the Tigers cut the Central lead to 40-31 heading into the fourth quarter.
“We knew a run would be coming because they are great players,” Cain said. “Our guys did a good job of helping each other out.”
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Central put together a small run to push the lead back to 45-31, which all but locked up the win. The Warriors were led by Citlau’s 18 points.
For Grand Junction, Robinson finished with 21 points and Matt Wilkinson added nine.
“I wasn’t displeased with the effort,” Johnson said. “I thought they played as hard as they could. I don’t know if we played as smart as we could, but the effort is always there with this group.”
Grand Junction attempts to bounce back Friday at Fruita Monument and Central travels to Montrose.
In other local action, the Palisade boys rode a 31-6 first-quarter lead to top Delta 71-57 on the road. The Bulldogs were led by Nate Yanez who had 25 points, including four 3-pointers.
On the girls side, Palisade got 22 points from Holly Odneal to defeat Delta 57-42.
“This was our best team effort,” Palisade coach Toni Gunther said.
Palisade next plays Friday at Glenwood Springs.