Rocklin still undefeated in league play

Lane dominates in rematch with Woodcreek
By: Kurt Johnson The Placer Herald
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Rocklin High’s varsity boys basketball team topped Del Oro and Woodcreek last week as its march through the Sierra Foothill League continued. The Thunder (20-2 overall) are 7-0 in the SFL while Del Oro (4-2), Woodcreek (4-3), Granite Bay (4-3) and Nevada Union (4-3) are battling for second place entering today’s action. Oakmont (1-6) and Roseville (0-7) are at the bottom of the standings. Rocklin will host Oakmont today and will host Roseville on Friday, both games at 7:30 p.m. The anticipated battle between Woodcreek’s twin towers and the long front line of Rocklin never quite materialized Friday night at Woodcreek, as Rocklin delivered a resounding 71-47 defeat to the Timberwolves. In front of a packed house, filled with energy, Rocklin’s 6-foot-10 senior center Brendan Lane nearly recorded a triple-double with 29 points, 10 rebounds and eight blocked shots as he dominated the paint all night long. “Brendan is better in big games,” Rocklin coach Steve Taylor said. “The challenge of playing against their two big men in front of this crowd really motivates him.” While Woodcreek had 6-7 senior forward Jordan Franks back in the lineup for this one, his minutes were limited because of foul trouble. Woodcreek junior center Mike Kurtz, 6-11, also battled foul trouble. Lane, bound for UCLA, was an overwhelming force at both ends of the court. The game started out with Rocklin on a roll, resembling a little bit the prior meeting, when the Thunder opened up a 20-0 first-quarter advantage. This time Rocklin led 19-9 after one quarter. “I was surprised by the large margin of victory,” Taylor said. “We saw this game as the setup for our second half. With the big crowd and this challenging environment it was like a playoff feeling.” After scoring seven points in the first period, Lane added nine more in the second, and also delivered five rebounds, three blocks and three steals in the period. The defense was key as the Thunder squeezed Woodcreek to take a 41-16 lead into the locker room. Thunder junior guards Jackson Cummings and Cody Kale scored eight points each while senior Pat Stover grabbed nine rebounds for Rocklin. Two nights earlier the Thunder beat Del Oro 84-51. The Golden Eagles hung with the Thunder in the early going and then Rocklin guard Anthony Romero took over. With Del Oro leading 9-6, the senior scored 10 points in just over three minutes and the Thunder led 16-13 with 1:40 left in the first quarter. Romero, 6-foot-1, finished with a game-high 17 points. Romero, who has been a consistent scorer off the bench for the Thunder lately, threw down a dunk as part of his 16 first-half points. “I just keep being aggressive, my shot feels real good,” Romero said. Thunder coach Steve Taylor enjoyed Romero’s performance. “He’s a high energy guy and he can score immediately when he comes in. (His dunk) was exciting,” Taylor said. “The young and the new players have really been contributing. We thought Del Oro would come out and be aggressive, coming off a big win (against Granite Bay). But it’s hard for teams to match our balance and depth – it’s a 32-minute game.” Lane scored 16 points and teammate Tony Williams had 12 despite playing just 1:40 in the first half because of foul trouble. Rocklin led 41-25 at the half and continued to roll in the second half, outscoring Del Oro 43-26. “The big thing we’re seeing is we’re really coming together as a team,” Taylor said. “All of them have to sacrifice some scoring for us to be successful.” – Russ Edmondson contributed to this report