Granite Bay falls to Rio Americano in Lincoln Invitational finalBy: Joshua Gutierrez
LINCOLN — In a strong defensive effort, Rio Americano High School claimed the 22nd annual Lincoln Invitational championship, defeating Granite Bay 41-23 on Saturday night.
The Raiders (12-3) employed a tight press to disrupt the Grizzlies’ offense and focused their attention on freshman standout Daeja Black, who scored 41 points in wins over Rio Linda and host Lincoln. Rio held the all-tournament selection to a team-leading six points.
“We put our quickest defender on her,” said Raiders head coach Jeff Hart, who assigned all-tournament selection Daizy Wilson to cover Black. “We knew who she was; we wanted to react to her.”
Katrina Reeves scored Granite Bay’s first field goal with one minute left in the first period, and the Grizzlies trailed 14-2. Rio attempted 13 more shots than Granite Bay in the first period and shot 8 for 12 in the second period to establish a 33-12 halftime lead on the heels of a 12-0 run.
As the second half played out, Granite Bay slowed Rio’s offense, forcing double-digit turnovers and limiting the Raiders to eight points. But even with a final period that saw the Raiders shoot 0 for 8 from the floor, the Grizzlies continued to struggle against Rio’s press and were unable to chip away at the deficit.
The Grizzlies ended the night shooting 23 percent from the floor, including 1 for 11 on three-point attempts.
“We’re still trying to evolve to the point where we can handle the press,” Granite Bay head coach Angel Delgadillo said. “We need to learn to control ourselves. We need to make the passes we know we can and stop trying to do the impossible.”
Black spoke in an opportunistic tone, as the new year brings Sierra Foothill League competition. Granite Bay plays at Oakmont on Wednesday and at River Valley on Jan. 8 before playing host to Roseville on Jan. 11 in an SFL opener.
“I can tell the chemistry is starting to build between us,” Black said. “We just got to keep playing.”
Granite Bay sophomore Annie Wright also was selected to the all-tournament team. She totaled 27 points and 35 rebounds in the first two games.