The players may have changed but the selfless style of play remains the same for Golden Valley Grizzlies boys’ basketball.
The Grizzlies won their season opener at home with ease on Wednesday, 95-20, over the Lakeview Charter Lions. The win featured dozens of extra passes, strong defense and solid off-ball movement that led to the lopsided win.
Golden Valley took (1-0) off on a 17-0 run to start the game as the team’s defensive press and relentless passing were too much for Lakeview.
Nearly every Grizzly scored in the non-league contest and several players hit double digits. Sophomore Zachary Christofferson led the black and gold with 17 points, including three triples.
“I was really pleased with our guys despite the score maybe getting a little bit larger,” said Grizzlies head coach Chris Printz. “We didn’t get selfish and continued to move the ball and move bodies. So that was really encouraging.”
Almost every one of Printz’s players also added assists and steals on the night. Senior point guard Tristan Tiu finished the night early but still posted a game-high six assists along with six points and three steals.
Golden Valley strived to find the open pass in the middle of the court and worked its way inside. The team features several sharpshooters from behind the arc but thrived in transition and close-range scoring.
“That’s a goal of ours. We don’t want to fall in love with the threes,” Printz said. “The more we can move the ball, the better. Even though we’re not a big team, we really try to emphasize scoring in the paint. We can only do that by moving bodies and moving the ball. So that was another good sign tonight.”
One more good sign was the younger Grizzlies impacting the game. Freshman Donovan Webb added eight points and six rebounds while sophomore Wyatt Printz led the team with eight rebounds and four steals.
“We’re trying to focus just on this year and we’re going to put everything around our seniors but it is kind of neat,” coach Printz said. “At one point we had three sophomores and two freshmen on the court together at one time and they’re pretty much all 6 feet or above. It helps you go to sleep at night a little bit.”
Kenyen Andrews, Kaleb Melara, Anthony Seragusa and Alexander Villejo all finished with eight or more points for Golden Valley.
Lakeview (0-1) may also have a bright future with some young talented players. The team still has some growing pains to go through as they learn a new offense and build their chemistry. Ronny Lizama led the Lions with 11 points while Isaiah Cacho made some nice plays and added five boards and a steal.
The Grizzlies dialed down the pressure and swapped up defenses numerous times but Lakeview just couldn’t find an easy recipe for points.
Golden Valley will look to keep improving as the team is expecting another bloodbath in Foothill League play.
“We have to continue to get better at everything,” said coach Printz. “We have to rebound better. I didn’t think we handled some screen and roll situations well. We’ll see the film and we’ll see what we can get better at, but for our first game, we’ll take it.”
The Grizzlies head into tournament play next week, beginning with a matchup with the Excelsior Charter Eagles. Golden Valley takes on Excelsior on Monday at 9:30 a.m. at Bloomington High School.