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Golden Valley boys basketball: Make that two

Grizzlies earn their second straight

Posted: February 11, 2010 10:42 p.m.
Updated: February 12, 2010 4:30 a.m.

Golden Valley's Brandon Hale, right, dribbles around Hart defender Kevin Lamb on Thursday at Golden Valley. The Grizzlies won the game 76-60.

 

It’s the only one of its kind, and earlier this week, Golden Valley High School’s only Foothill League championship plaque was brought into the boys basketball team’s locker room as a gentle reminder.

Now there will be two plaques.

The Grizzlies defeated Hart 76-60 at Golden Valley High Thursday and claimed a share of the Foothill League title with Valencia, which beat Saugus 79-59 also on Thursday.

“It kind of gave us guidance, it motivated us,” said Golden Valley senior swingman Taylor Statham of the plaque. “We wanted to prove to people what we could do as a team.”

There was a lot of talk around Golden Valley after the game of how people doubted the Grizzlies (22-5, 8-2).

How could they lose two players to graduation in Maverick Ahanmisi and Steven Thornton — two players who each had 41-point games in last year’s CIF-Southern Section Division IIIA playoffs — and still make a run at the 2010 league title?

Golden Valley head coach Chris Printz implied that the disbelief didn’t start after last season.

“We’ve been in this league four years and we’ve won half the league titles,” Printz said. “I don’t think anyone would have thought that.”

Whether or not people believed or didn’t believe in them, the Grizzlies still had some talent returning and were built around Foothill League MVP candidate Trevor Wiseman, who again played well Thursday, scoring 16 points and creating offense for his teammates.

Statham, though, finally had the Foothill League game he was aiming for.

He led all scorers with 21 points, including eight in the first quarter.

Golden Valley jumped out to a 16-2 lead, with Statham and Wiseman collecting 14 of those points.

The Grizzlies led 25-9 after the first quarter and 50-23 going into halftime.

The difference early on was the shooting — the Grizzlies were 17-of-23 from the field in the first half, while Hart was 8-of-34.

But the Indians (5-22, 0-10) made a game of it in the second half, thanks to the long-range shooting of guard Austin Maly.

Maly hit five 3-pointers in the game’s final 16 minutes.

He scored 18 points in the game.

Teammate Roman Delgado picked up the rest of the offensive load with 19 points.

The Indians got as close as 14 points twice in the fourth quarter, but the Grizzlies were able to gather enough points at the free throw line to hold the Indians back.

This is the first time in Hart head coach Tom Kelly’s 10-year tenure at Hart that his team has failed to win a Foothill League game.

The Indians knew early on that with a young team, only two seniors, it would be an uphill climb.

Kelly said he will not apply to be an at-large team in the CIF-Southern Section playoffs.

Yet he looked ahead to the future with tempered optimism.

“We’re not going to be better because everyone’s back. The guys on the varsity will have to improve,” Kelly said. “If we can play next season like we did the second half (on Thursday), with that aggression, that intensity, next year could be very good for these guys.”

As for Golden Valley, the focus is on the present season.

The Grizzlies made the Division IIIA semifinals last season.

They are ranked ninth in Division IIIA going into this postseason.

“We really need to play better than last year’s team,” Wiseman said. “I believe in this team.”

 

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