By Ryan Menzie
Signal Sports Writer
Golden Valley Grizzlies shooting guard Mark Hamilton hit three 3-pointers in a row for the Grizzlies, leading to the Hart Indians taking their first time out in the first quarter. Before the end of the second quarter, Hamilton threw down a ferocious one-handed dunk.
This was the story of how the Grizzlies (5-12, 2-0) came into the Hart Indians’ (2-3, 0-1) home and won in their Friday night showdown, 65-51.
The defensive battle between two teams trying to silence the doubters and prove they belong at the top of the league displayed why they want to be known as the hardest-working teams on the court.
“I saw two teams that battled very hard, all the credit to Tom Kelly and the Hart coaching staff,” said Grizzlies head coach Chris Printz. “One of the biggest adjustments was putting balls in the basket. We made a couple of adjustments at the half and it’s credit to our guys to visualize it and put in the action on the court.”
Despite the troubles scoring the ball in a tightly contested, 26-24, first half, both teams dominated on the offensive rebound glass and forcing a combined eight turnovers in the process.
Grizzlies’ shooting guard Mark Hamilton led all scorers in the first half with 14, with Indians’ point guard Jacob Okonowski finishing right behind with 12 points, all of which came in the first quarter.
In the third quarter the Grizzlies got held to a quick five-second violation, but that was about the only momentum they had until the end of the game.
Coming out of the halftime locker room, the Indians looked poised to make a comeback, but the Grizzlies changed the script, knocking down their shots and holding the Indians to just eight third-quarter points on a 28-6 run. Shooting guard Jacob Miller knocked down quick back-to-back 3-pointers for the Grizzlies.
Hamilton would continue his streaky scoring and would end the game with 27 points and 11 rebounds. Point guard Jonathan Onu finished with seven points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Forward Aidan Dixon ended the game with a double-double of his own, finishing with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
“I was excited. It was a big away game and a big crowd so I was trying to kill for real,” said Hamilton. “I watched the game against Granada six or seven times to digest and see what Hart does. Energy was the biggest key. We knew we wanted it more.”
The Grizzlies’ defensive prowess would hold the Indians to 27 second-half points to ultimately seal the victory despite a 19-point surge for the Indians late in the fourth quarter.
The Indians will look to turn their luck around against Saugus on Tuesday while the Grizzlies will look to keep their win streak going against Canyon on Tuesday.