Granite Bay still kicking, drives past Nevada Union

Every game critical for Grizzlies in playoff push
By: Galen Kusic, Press Tribune Correspondent
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After a tough loss to Oakmont last week, the Granite Bay Grizzlies bounced back with a win Wednesday over Roseville 52-43, and again Saturday night at home over the Nevada Union Miners, 74-54. "We are in a do-or-die situation right now, and the guys responded well," said Grizzlies head coach Jason Sitterud. "We start drinking the right kool-aid and we can get into the playoffs." Intense defense from Granite Bay throughout the game forced the Miners into making numerous turnovers, caused by relentless on-ball pressure and the denial of every passing lane. The Grizzlies Robert Duncan was a defensive nightmare for Nevada Union, as he ended with six steals and two blocks to go along with 27 points - many of which came from turnovers. "We worked hard in practice, and it came together tonight for a win," said Duncan. Jon Davis was also a beast on the inside, finishing with 18 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. "Tonight we stepped it up to a new level we haven't seen all season," said Davis. "We just got to bottle that up and bring it out next game." The Grizzlies went on a 12-0 run in the first quarter, and at one point led 20-4. The Miners brought it within six at one point in the third, and back to ten in the fourth, but the Grizzlies never relinquished the cushion. Granite Bay played great team defense on the Miners leading scorer, Colin Lee - holding him to 15 points, just five in the second half. "We tried to contain (Lee) and make him work, tried to wear him down," said Sitterud. "We ran a lot better and our bigs played great tonight." With the loss, the Miners drop to 11-11 and 3-5 in Sierra Foothill league play. "Once we got down in the first quarter, we never really got back in it after that," Lee said. "Everytime we made a run, they just countered with another one." It was truly a team effort for the Grizzlies, as point guard Ryan Motsenbocker contributed in every facet with six points, six assists and three steals. Shooting guard Jake Riffice knocked down big shots all game, putting up 11 points in the win. "Everyone played selfless," said Davis. "Everyone was playing for the good of the team - and making everyone else look better by sharing the ball." With the win, the Grizzlies improve to 16-8 on the year, and 4-5 in league. The next two opponents won't get any easier to close out the season, as the Grizzlies take on Rocklin (5-3, 16-7) at home and Del Oro (4-4, 13-8) on the road.