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Brillington scores 34; Grizzlies top T-wolves in SFL opener

By: Bill Poindexter/Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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It was almost a year ago that Nate Brillington was carried off the Granite Bay High School basketball court on the shoulders of his teammates as his fellow students celebrated his shot that beat Woodcreek.

It was the first game in the second half of Sierra Foothill League play. With Granite Bay's "The Tribe" on one side of the sold-out gym and Woodcreek's "Black Mob" on the other, each blowing the roof off the building with every big play, Brillington's winner avenged a loss to the Timberwolves in the league opener, pulled the Grizzlies into a tie for first place, and they went on to share the SFL crown and enjoy success deep into the CIF Northern California Regional Divisions I and II playoffs.

The scene was more calm for the teams' 2012 SFL opener Thursday night at Granite Bay. There was a big crowd but no sellout. There was "The Tribe" but no "Black Mob." And Brillington, who made the shot to remember last season, made a bunch of big shots Thursday night in Granite Bay's 77-70 victory.

He scored a career-high 34 points - 17 in each half - grabbed six rebounds and handed out four assists.

Brillington helped the Grizzlies (9-9, 1-0 SFL) build a 14-point lead in the first half, and he scored Granite Bay's first eight points in the fourth quarter to help hold off a Woodcreek (6-12, 0-1) team that pulled within 56-53 on Blake Bass' fourth of five three-pointers in the second half on perfect 5-of-5 shooting.

Junior center Scott Romuk, now famous on the Granite Bay campus for making a hole in one during Christmas break, completed a three-point play with less than a minute remaining and finished with 14 points and nine rebounds.

"We set our minds to not take any plays off," Brillington said. "Our saying is 'Pedal to the metal' on defense. Like you saw at the end, they were making the run, and we tried not to take any plays off. That's what kept us in the game - our defense."

The Timberwolves tested Granite Bay's defense, though. Sophomore Nick Howe, using the entire floor and hitting his pull-up jumper, scored 13 of his team-high 20 points in the second half. Bass, a senior, scored all 15 of his points in the second half, and junior Tyler Milani fought off a collision into the wall and a head-banging encounter with an opponent to score seven of his nine points in the second half. Woodcreek made eight of its nine three-pointers in the second half.

Coach Paul Hayes said it was the Timberwolves' best effort yet this season.

"We've been trying to increase our effort each game," Hayes said. "What I appreciated was, it looked like they were sneaking away, we get it back to six. That's the mark of a team that's growing. And that's our goal."

Brillington scored off several steals in the first half. He scored on inbounds plays. He twice rebounded his misses and converted. Jerry Hansen returned from a torn muscle in an elbow that kept him out for about two months and had 13 points, including 8 of 9 from the free throw line, and five rebounds.

"Fortunately, Nate played really well for us. It's nice to have Jerry Hansen back," Grizzlies coach Jason Sitterud said. "Senior leadership is huge. You have seniors in your lineup, that's what it's all about. High school has become senior dominated, guard dominated. If you have those things, you'll have opportunities to be successful."

Woodcreek's Michael Mathews scored eight of his 10 points in the second period, and Noah Bishop grabbed all eight of his rebounds in the second half. He also had a sweet behind-the-back pass to Howe for a layup in the third quarter. Timberwolves freshman Noah Blackwell had six rebounds and four assists. Howe had five assists.

Granite Bay junior Daniel Romero made back-to-back three-pointers in the second period and totaled eight points, and junior Sherron Bradford had two big steals in the fourth quarter.

JV

Granite Bay 69, Woodcreek 47 - Kendrick Jackson hit two three-pointers and scored 16 points in the Grizzlies' win over the Timberwolves. Aiden Naughon made three three-pointers and scored 15 points for Granite Bay, and Tony Ellison scored 14 points.

James Leyva led Woodcreek with 14 points. Mitchell Layton and Jimmy Luna each scored 11.

GRANITE BAY 77, WOODCREEK 70

Woodcreek (70)
Milani 4-12 0-0 9, Mathews 1-9 8-10 10, Bishop 3-5 0-1 6, Howe 9-17 0-0 20, Blackwell 2-7 0-2 5, Summers 2-4 1-2 5, Bass 5-5 0-0 15, Lara 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-59 9-15 70.
Granite Bay (77)
Ciraulo 1-1 0-0 3, Romero 3-5 0-0 8, Romuk 6-12 2-7 14, Brillington 12-22 7-10 34, Hansen 2-5 8-9 13, Pedersen 0-0 0-0 0, King 0-2 1-2 1, Bertolino 0-2 0-0 0, Arai 1-1 0-0 2, Bradford 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 26-52 18-28 77.

Woodcreek   11   15   21   23--70
Granite Bay   16   22   18   21--77


Three-point goals - Woodcreek 9-19 (Bass 5-5, Howe 2-6, Blackwell 1-4, Milani 1-4), Granite Bay 7-14 (Brillington 3-7, Romero 2-3, Ciraulo 1-1, Hansen 1-1, King 0-2). Total fouls - Woodcreek 22, Granite Bay 16. Fouled out - Mathews. Rebounds - Woodcreek 27 (Bishop 8), Granite Bay 31 (Romuk 9). Assists - Woodcreek 13 (Howe 5), Granite Bay 10 (Brillington 4). Turnovers - Woodcreek 21, Granite Bay 17.