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The rivalry is born

Golden Valley and West Ranch boys hoops play a thriller

Posted: January 27, 2009 9:16 p.m.
Updated: January 28, 2009 5:01 a.m.
 
All this talk of rivalry, and no game to back it up.

Until now.

Amid head-splitting noise, back-and-forth scoring and a tight finish, Golden Valley boys basketball defeated West Ranch 70-66 at Golden Valley High Tuesday night to establish the rivalry.

The schools are natural rivals. Both opened up in 2004.

“Oh yeah, definitely,” said Golden Valley guard Maverick Ahanmisi on the game marking the true start of the schools’ tug-of-war.

It was a 3-pointer by Ahanmisi that may have turned the tide going into the fourth quarter.

West Ranch led throughout the frame before Ahanmisi stopped five feet from beyond the 3-point line with seconds running down, then sunk the shot as the buzzer blared.

He then stood, pumped his fists and let out a roar like the Grizzlies’ mascot that fell on deaf ears only because the crowd roared louder.

Golden Valley (20-2, 5-0) took the 57-55 advantage and never trailed again.

But it was close throughout the fourth quarter.

The lead was two points after a layup from West Ranch’s Geoff Petersen and the Wildcats (13-8, 2-3) had a chance to tie or take the lead with a minute to play.

But Fernando Schiantarelli threw up a desperation shot that wasn’t near the basket as the shot clock threatened to expire.

Golden Valley had possession with 20 seconds to play and a 68-66 lead. There was a six-second differential on the shot clock.

Instead of waiting out a shot, West Ranch fouled Ahanmisi, forcing a one-and-one at the free throw line.

Ahanmisi drilled both shots to give the Grizzlies a 70-66 lead.

The senior guard shared the game-high in scoring with Trevor Wiseman at 19 points apiece.

Wildcat David Franklin shot a desperation three at the end to no avail.

The senior guard struggled from the field, making 5-of-16 shots for 14 points.

He tried to carry the offensive load early and late, but his shots weren’t dropping.

“It hurts bad,” he said of the loss. “We came in feeling good. We just couldn’t pull it out in the end.”

The Wildcats hung tough, though, throughout.

Golden Valley never had a lead of more than seven points.

West Ranch’s biggest lead was five points.

The teams traded the lead on five consecutive possessions in the second quarter and the Wildcats took a 40-36 advantage into halftime.

The Grizzlies allowed some space on the perimeter in the second and third quarters, and the Wildcats to hit 4-of-their-6 3-pointers in the game.

“Our guys kept helping off their guy in the corner,” said Golden Valley head coach Chris Printz. “Their dribble penetration was making us lose our vision and giving them easy threes or a back cut.”

Schiantarelli benefited most from the opportunity, drilling 8-of-12 shots for a team-high 18 points.

But West Ranch went cold early in the fourth quarter as the Grizzlies outscored the Wildcats 7-2 to begin the final frame.

Stevie Thornton was a force early on, giving the Grizzlies a spectacular two-handed dunk and heavy-handed block. He scored 16 points.

Khatari Price added 10 for the Grizzlies.

cosborne@the-signal.com

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