By Ryan Menzie
Signal Sports Writer
With the Golden Valley Grizzlies given one more chance to showcase the skill of the seniors to the home crowd, they made sure they wouldn’t disappoint.
The Grizzlies (10-7, 4-5) would manage to get all their seniors into the game on senior night in a 65-58 win against the Valencia Vikings (3-17-1, 1-5-1) on Friday.
“Senior night is always going to be emotional so I never know what to expect,” said Grizzlies head coach Chris Printz. “We saw it from the beginning of the game. All the credit to Valencia for playing hard and being well coached. I’m really proud of our guys for battling perseverance, especially in moments like this. Our school hasn’t had a big game like this in quite a while.”
The Grizzlies and Vikings kept it close in a 12-9 first quarter before the Grizzlies went on to outscore the Vikings 20-12 in the second quarter to establish a lead heading into the halftime locker room.
Jonathan Onu led the Grizzlies with 12 points in the first half while the Vikings’ Bryce Bedgood led his team with six points.
The Grizzlies had trouble on the glass in the first half, but would turn it up in the second half while forcing turnovers on the Vikings. The Grizzlies were able to establish a 16-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, but the Vikings were able to claw back.
Unfortunately for the Vikings, it was too little too late.
Onu finished the game with 14 points while alo leading his team with six assists and racking up four rebounds and two steals. Mark Hamilton Jr. led all scorers with 21 points and led his team with seven rebounds and three blocks. Aidan Dixon finished with 14 points and six rebounds.
“Me and my teammates went out there to try and get a win,” said Onu. “We haven’t beaten this school in 10 years so we wanted to make a statement. We just wanted to continue to be aggressive, move the ball around and set up each other for open shots. I wanted to help get good looks for myself and my team, and that’s what we did.”
The Vikings would try to bring the game back and were down by as little as five points before the buzzer, but the Grizzlies would hold on and secure the seven-point victory.
Bedgood finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and two blocks. Bryce Wigton finished with 14 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals and Raif Zakarian finished with 11 points and four rebounds.
“We didn’t play with a sense of urgency to start,” said Vikings head coach Bill Bedgood. “We played great in the end but where was that in the beginning when we needed it? We had too many missed free throws and layups in the first half. We needed the urgency of fighting for our lives for a playoff spot, but we didn’t tap into it until it was too late.”