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Canyon 77, Golden Valley 70: Canyon closes

Posted: January 12, 2010 10:40 p.m.
Updated: January 13, 2010 4:30 a.m.

Canyon guard Coley Apsey (0) puts up a shot as Golden Valley guard Khatari Price (10) defends Tuesday at Canyon High School. Canyon forwards Wesley Bartole (23) and Brian Nnaoji (20) trail the play.

Clearly, there was a big gap between Golden Valley boys basketball and the other five Foothill League teams last season.

Some might have thought Golden Valley still was in front of the other squads coming into this season.

But Canyon’s smallest player helped close that big gap with a third-quarter ignition that led the Cowboys to a league-opening 77-70 victory Tuesday night at Canyon High.

Kris Quant, a 5-foot-6-inch backup guard, helped dig the Cowboys out of a 13-point hole with four third-quarter 3-pointers.
Canyon (12-5, 1-0) went into the fourth quarter tied at 51-51 then took off from there thanks to the trio of Brian Nnaoji, Wesley Bartole and Tere Adams.

Nnaoji scored nine of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, Bartole added seven of his 20 and Adams scored seven of his 14.

“Their players made plays in the third quarter, but we made plays at the end of the fourth quarter,” said Canyon head coach Chad Phillips.

That was one difference for Canyon, but Quant was the big difference.

The senior kept getting left alone in the left corner by Golden Valley defenders and he made them pay.

Golden Valley’s 33-29 halftime lead ballooned to 47-34 midway through the third quarter, but the Grizzlies (13-4, 0-1) lost track of the little guard in the final two minutes of the frame.

His fifth 3-pointer of the game came with 15 seconds left in the third and tied the score at 51-51.

“When I’m in my zone, I’m feeling it,” said Quant, who scored 19 points. “Nothing’s going to stop me. Coach told me if I was open, don’t hesitate.”

Most of those looks were open.

“We had everything we wanted and we had one assignment we didn’t take care of,” said Golden Valley head coach Chris Printz.
Quant was silent in the fourth quarter, but the Canyon trio of Nnaoji, Bartole and Adams kept slicing through the Grizzlies’ defense and to the basket.

It was evident late that Golden Valley point guard Trevor Wiseman, a Foothill League Most Valuable Player candidate, wanted to take over the game.

But his frustration got the best of him late.

With 1:51 to play in the game and his team trailing 69-63, Wiseman drove inside, then threw the ball away.

He walked past the scorer’s table and swatted a Styrofoam cup onto the floor, spilling water.

The referees didn’t see it, but he was immediately taken out of the game by Printz.

He scored eight of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, but Golden Valley would play the rest of the game without him.

“Not difficult,” Printz said about keeping Wiseman out the rest of the way. “We’re a team. There are a lot of life lessons to learn sometimes. There are things more important than wins and losses.”

Golden Valley’s major downfall in the game, though, was its free throw shooting.

The Grizzles made just 9-of-21 free throws in the first half, but cleaned things up in the second half to finish 24-of-40 for the game.
Grizzlies Taylor Statham scored 14 points and Khatari Price added 13.

After the game, Canyon fans rushed the court and carried Quant in the air, celebrating like it wasn’t the first Foothill League game, but the 10th.

“It’s just a stepping stone,” Quant said. “We have nine more games.”



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