Top-ranked Griz­zlies lift record to 9-1

THUNDERRIDGE 58, CHERO­KEE TRAIL 45

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Kyle New­man

aurora» In the last game be­fore the hol­i­day break, No. 1 ThunderRidge played Fri­day night at No. 4 Chero­kee Trail and emerged with a 58-45 win and a big mo­men­tum boost head­ing into the new year.

Se­nior guard Corey Seng de­liv­ered an­other cru­cial per­for­mance for the Griz­zlies, pour­ing in 26 points while also play­ing a key role in lim­it­ing Chero­kee Trail’s top of­fen­sive pro­duc­ers.

The game was tight through­out the first half as the lead went back and forth. Se­nior point guard Jaizec Lot­tie and the Cougars set the tone with oc­ca­sional full-court pres­sure and ball-hawk de­fense, but ju­nior point guard Kai­son Ham­monds and ThunderRidge matched the home team with pa­tient of­fense and a num­ber of key 3point­ers to take a 23-21 lead into half­time.

The Griz­zlies came out blaz­ing in the third quar­ter, open­ing the sec­ond half with a 13-2 run to cre­ate a 13point lead, the largest ad­van­tage of the game for ei­ther side. Time­outs by Chero­kee Trail coach Mor­gan Gre­gory could not quell ThunderRidge’s roll, as the Griz­zlies forced the Cougars into an ar­ray of turnovers to take a com­mand­ing 39-28 lead head­ing into the fourth quar­ter.

In a rau­cous at­mos­phere, the Cougars did not quit, but their come­back at­tempt fell short as ThunderRidge was able to get hard-earned de­fen­sive stops through­out the fi­nal few min­utes of reg­u­la­tion en route to the vic­tory.

Ham­monds and sopho­more Bai­ley Verk chipped in eight points apiece for ThunderRidge. Lot­tie paced the Cougars with 16 points, with ad­di­tional scor­ing con­tri­bu­tions from Deon Barfield, Joe Cox and Ian Kelly, all of whom had six points.

Chero­kee Trail (6-2) be­gins Cen­ten­nial League play Jan. 4 at Cherry Creek, while ThunderRidge (9-1) plays next at Over­land on Jan. 3.

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