Granite Bay stops Rocklin, takes two-game lead in SFL

By: Robbie Enos
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If the second half of Sierra Foothill League basketball competition is going to be as intense as the first half, the courts might very well explode.

Granite Bay High School held off a Rocklin comeback and edged the Thunder 58-56 on Friday night. The victory gave the Grizzlies (16-6 overall, 5-0 SFL) a two-game lead over Rocklin (15-7, 3-2) at the halfway point.

“It’s huge,” Granite Bay coach Jason Sitterud said. “Two games is huge. But it’s not done yet. We still have a long ways to go.”

The gym was packed so much it forced many fans to stand and observe. The Grizzlies’ student section was at full capacity with The Tribe, armed with ridiculous outfits, hats and cheers.

The game was iced by sophomore Kendrick Jackson, who hit two free throws with less than 10 seconds left to give Granite Bay a four-point lead. The defense allowed Rocklin’s Hayden Cook to score on a layup and wind down the clock for the win.

It was a second chance for Jackson, who missed two free throws on the previous possession. Rocklin rebounded the miss but turned over the ball due to sloppy passing.

Granite Bay had an 11-point lead at the half, but the Thunder outscored the Grizzlies 21-12 to make it a two-point game heading into the fourth. Cook scored nine points in the quarter, and Devin Moss hit two three-pointers.

After a steal and lay-up by Taylor Cherry and a well-executed pick and roll by Cook, Rocklin had its first lead early in the fourth quarter.

Granite Bay backed off defensively in the third but went on the attack following Rocklin’s emergence and took a five-point lead on a lay-up and one by Daniel Romero. Cook and Drew Ardissone brought it back to a two-point game with tough lay-ups before Jackson’s free throws.

“Get two or three stops, and make some free throws,” Sitterud said. “Got stops at the right time.”

Granite Bay’s main weapon was senior guard Jacob King. With starting point guard Anthony Pedersen out due to an illness, King took his place in the starting line-up and scored a team-high 17 points.

“I usually come off the bench,” said King, who scored a game-high 20 points in a win over Woodcreek on Tuesday night. “I just had to come out hard and show them that I could be the starter.”

Cook also had 17 points, one half of a double double with 14 rebounds. Moss posted a game-high 18 points.

The Granite Bay defense had 15 steals, thanks to its aggressive press defense.

As for the ladies, Rocklin took care of business with a 71-56 win over the Grizzlies. The Thunder killed Granite Bay on back cuts, leading to seven assists in the first quarter alone and 17 for the game.

Rocklin’s Lydia Summers had a career night with a game-high 28 points. Aggressive Granite Bay freshman point guard Daeja Black scored 23.