Thunder boys top Grizzlies 66-50

By: Russ Edmondson The Placer Herald
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Rocklin High’s varsity boys basketball team outscored visiting Granite Bay 21-5 in the third quarter in Friday night’s 66-50 victory. The Grizzlies (17-8 overall, 6-4 in the Sierra Foothill League) led the Thunder (23-2, 10-0) 29-27 at halftime. “We tried to stay in front of them and did a nice job rotating,” said Granite Bay coach Jason Sitterud of the first half. “Doug (Kircher) and John Davis did a nice job on the boards.” Rocklin coach Steve Taylor wasn’t pleased at all with the first half. “Give Granite Bay credit, they out-hustled us in the first half and got 10 offensive rebounds and shot the ball well,” Taylor said. “And (allowing offensive rebounds) is an energy and effort thing.” Rocklin came out fired up in the third quarter. “We came out and, credit to our guys, stepped up the pressure and the energy,” Taylor said. “And played with urgency.” Sitterud said, “They came out and did what they do (in the third quarter) – you know their run will come.” Lane (21 points), Cody Kale (14) and Anthony Romero (13) led the Thunder in scoring while Davis (14) and Kircher (12) led the Grizzlies. The game was played in front of a packed house of fired up fans. “It’s a good rivalry – we’ve had some good games over the years and it’s something we enjoy doing,” said Sitterud, who also pointed out that the Grizzlies have played Rocklin very tough in the first half of both meetings this season before losing. “We believe we can compete with them,” he said. “We’ve put together a first half twice now – but it’s about putting together two halves.” Lane was pleased with how his team responded in the third quarter. “Everybody brought the intensity up and had to step it up,” Lane said. “We expect everyone’s best shots and (Granite Bay) really challenged us.” Rocklin’s Pat Stover picked up three fouls in the first 2:34 of the game of had to sit out the rest of the first half. He was fired up in the second half, scoring six points and being active defensively and on the glass. “He had a lot of energy and he was rested,” Taylor said. “We lost his energy and his toughness (with him on the bench in the first half).” While discussing the first half, the absence of Stover was one of the first things that Lane brought up. “Even if he doesn’t score he does so much,” Lane said. Rocklin will finish up the league season with Nevada Union on Monday and Del Oro on Feb. 20. Granite Bay will play Del Oro and Woodcreek next week. “We’re definitely focused on finishing league undefeated,” Lane said. Rocklin has never finished undefeated in league before. “At this point, we see the finish line in league and we’d like to go undefeated,” Taylor said. “(The Granite Bay game) was a good wake-up call for us. Everybody will play their best game against us.” The game was very physical throughout. “That’s SFL basketball late in the year and it’s how it should be.”