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Grizz trying to go in reverse

Golden Valley now 2-0 after a 0-10 mark in league in 2008

Posted: January 16, 2009 10:40 p.m.
Updated: January 17, 2009 4:57 a.m.
After a 68-55 win over Canyon at Golden Valley High Friday night, the Grizzlies further proved that they are for real.

But more importantly, they are working toward accomplishing their main goal of the 2009 season: reversing their 2008 league record.

“We have to win. We don’t accept losses,” said Golden Valley’s Stevie Thornton. “Our goal is 10-0 and we have to keep winning to get there.”

Two games into league play, the Grizzlies (17-1, 2-0) are certainly off on the right foot and Thornton helped provide most of the liftoff by gashing the Cowboy defense for 16 points in the first quarter alone.

“(Thornton) was incredible,” said Grizzlies head coach Chris Printz. “But I was most impressed with his toughness. He got hit above the eye early in the game and he came back and just battled all night.”

The game started with two free-throws from Thornton and the back-and-forth battle began.

Neither team could stretch the lead and the Grizzlies rolled into the second frame with a 20-19 lead.

For the second quarter in a row, the game went back and forth with neither team taking a lead of more than two points.

Golden Valley took a two-point lead into the locker room at the half when Chris White drained a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left to push the lead to 36-34.

In the third quarter, however, the Grizzlies’ pressure defense finally wore down the Cowboys as Canyon (6-11, 0-2) could only muster two baskets in the eight minutes while Golden Valley pulled away.

“I’m proud of our guys’ effort, but they blitzed us and they are very good once they get going,” said Canyon head coach Chad Phillips.

The game’s deciding run began with a Thornton jumper and didn’t end until the midway through the fourth quarter, when a Thornton layup gave the Grizzlies a 61-44 lead that all but sealed the game.

Thornton finished with a game-high 27 points.

“I think our defense turned them over a bit in the third and we got some good possessions and we got rolling,” Printz said.

Earlier in the fourth, White got involved again with another 3-pointer and guard Maverick Ahanmisi turned in a three-point play for a 55-42 Grizzly lead. Then, after the second Cowboy turnover of the fourth quarter, Trevor Wiseman brought the crowd to its feet with a monster slam dunk to give the Grizzlies a 57-42 lead and all the cushion it would need.

“We have tried all year to just compete against ourselves,” Printz said. “We just focus on being the best we can be every night. We do have to focus on every team, but we just want to play our best every game and focus on our play.”

For Canyon, the league play starts with some disappointment, but Phillips says the improvement will come as his team matures through the season.

“We’ve been playing quality opponents and we’re only going to get better,” Phillips said. “We have young guards and we make a lot of mistakes, but we will learn to get better.”

Jonathan Lawson led the Cowboys with 15 points.


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