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Granite Bay holds off Rocklin, heads to Del Oro on Friday

By: John Parker/Roseville Press Tribune Correspondent
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Granite Bay High School boys basketball coach Jason Sitterud has been looking for the right formula.

With a 58-48 Sierra Foothill League win at Rocklin on Wednesday night, it appears he may have found it after juggling the starting lineup and rotation throughout the season. In a continuation of last Friday’s fourth-quarter comeback over Roseville, Sitterud’s Grizzlies played up-tempo and imposed their will on a young Thunder squad, forcing 18 turnovers.

“It felt good to get out there and run a little bit,” said Granite Bay junior forward Scott Romuk, who scored a team-high 12 points.

Granite Bay (14-12 overall, 6-3 SFL) made three three-pointers on its first four possessions while the Thunder could hardly make it into the half court. Rocklin junior guard and main facilitator Taylor Cherry picked up two offensive fouls in the first two minutes, and the Thunder totaled four offensive fouls in the first quarter.

The Grizzlies led 36-23 at the half but got into foul trouble early in the third quarter as Jerry Hansen sat for 4:30 of the period with three fouls and leading scorer Nathan Brillington picked up his fourth with 4:16 left.

“That got a little annoying,” Sitterud said. “They kept reaching and we had to go deeper and deeper into our bench.”

Meanwhile, Rocklin (4-22, 1-8) calmed down, and instead of letting itself be rushed by the Grizzlies, got into its half-court sets. Thunder junior forward Drew Ardissone opened the fourth quarter with seven of his game-high 14 points, at one point making it a two-possession game, trailing 46-40 with six minutes left.

“Once we slowed down and realized what (Granite Bay was) trying to get us to do, we started to get some good shots,” Rocklin coach Mike Lorente said.

The Thunder had momentum, especially after it appeared to get a stop when an errant Grizzlies pass went into the backcourt and out of bounds in front of the Rocklin bench. The nearest referee ruled it Granite Bay’s ball, however, and after a conference with the other official, ruled it a jump ball. Possession favored the Grizzlies, who promptly got a lay-in from Brillington, and Rocklin got not closer.

Granite Bay entered the game No. 12 in Division I in the Sac-Joaquin Section’s power ratings and likely will move up after notching its first back-to-back wins since the first two games this season. The Grizzlies play at Del Oro on Friday night in a regular-season finale.

“That’s your goal, to be playing your best at this point of the season,” Sitterud said.

JV

Granite Bay 57, Rocklin 56 — The Grizzlies won a thriller behind Tony Ellison’s game-high 26 points. Cole Bridge scored 15 points for Rocklin.