Top-ranked Grizzlies lift record to 9-1
THUNDERRIDGE 58, CHEROKEE TRAIL 45
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.