Golden Valley hoops survives Castaic comeback 

Castaic point guard Lucas Milan (13) keeps possession of the ball against Golden Valley defense during the first quarter of Friday's game at Golden Valley. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
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A chaotic end to the fourth quarter saw Golden Valley Grizzlies boys’ basketball survive its league opener with the Castaic Coyotes. 

The Grizzlies missed seven free throws in crunch time and were held without a field goal for the final five minutes of play. However, tough defense and some missed Coyote free throws gave Golden Valley the 67-64 victory on Friday at home.  

“Any win is beautiful, especially in the Foothill League,” said Grizzlies coach Chris Printz. “It doesn’t matter if it ends in the most poetic of ways or in the most chaotic of ways, we’ll take it.” 

Coyotes senior Lucas Milan had given his team a huge boost all night. Milan led Castaic with 19 points and nearly sent the game to overtime.  

After yet another Grizzly missed free throw in crunch time, the Coyotes grabbed the rebound and called timeout. The ball found Milan striding to half court, where he launched a prayer that was just wide but the guard was fouled. Milan was so close to sending the game into overtime but missed his first two free throws. Forced to miss the next, he sent it high in hopes of a rebound but the Coyotes were called with a lane violation and ultimately fell.  

“The guys didn’t give up and they stayed in the game,” said Castaic coach Dominique Butler. “The attention to detail was better in the final few minutes. I wish we didn’t wait that long to do it, but it’s a learning process. They all gave great effort, and that’s all we can ask for. We learn from our mistakes.” 

After a back-and-forth first quarter, Golden Valley never trailed for the remainder of the contest, but the game was anything but in hand.  

Golden Valley point guard Tristan Tiu (1) goes up for a layup during the second quarter of Friday’s game against Castaic. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Senior guard Tristan Tiu kept finding ways to break inside the paint and finished with a game-high 21 points. Tiu also made his presence felt on defense, where he added five steals.  

“I think the game opened up for Tristan, so when that happens, obviously we’re gonna let him do what he does,” Printz said. “If you look at scoring, it’s still pretty much balanced down the line, and we had eight guys score. That’s the way we do things around here.” 

Jameson Torres also had a solid night with 13 points.  

Golden Valley guard Jameson Torres (12) jumps up to shoot against Castaic defense during the second quarter of Friday’s game at Golden Valley High School. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

The Grizzlies came out hot from behind the arc, where they scored the majority of the first-quarter points. Golden Valley didn’t register a 2-point field goal until Tiu knocked down a floater with two seconds left in the opening period. The floater was part of an 11-0 run that the Grizzlies rode in the first half.  

Golden Valley’s defense was key for the team holding a lead throughout the night. The Grizzlies communicated on everything, switching, doubling and running in transition in motion with one another. 

“We’re gonna have to pride ourselves on our defense,” Printz said. “Despite the fact that we might be a little smaller than most teams, we’re in the right positions and we communicate. We feel like we have a shot to stop anybody.”  

The Coyotes coincidentally didn’t hit any threes until the second quarter, as Milan drilled a deep ball to tie the score at 29-29. Castaic only hit one more 3-point shot in the game.  

Milan’s 3-ball was also part of a big run, as the Coyotes turned up the heat on a 12-1 run to jump back into the game.  

Castaic point guard Ethan Thomas (20) dribbles the ball against Golden Valley shooting guard Bradley Christoffersen (24) during the first quarter of Friday’s game at Golden Valley. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Senior Ethan Thomas also had a standout night for Castaic. The senior guard posted a double-double, finishing the game with 10 points and 13 rebounds along with three steals and a block.  

Golden Valley junior Kenyan Andrews nearly matched the feat but still had a strong night for the Grizzlies. Andrews was a spark plug for the team and finished the night with 12 points, nine rebounds and four steals.  

Golden Valley guard Kenyen Andrews (30) goes up for a layup during the second quarter of Friday night’s game against Castaic. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Both crowds were a factor during the game. Friday’s contest was a prototypical physical and chippy Foothill League matchup, riling up both fan sections. The crowd noise was an apparent reason for both teams missing free throws throughout the second half. 

Nonetheless, the Grizzlies, who are rostered by mostly juniors and sophomores, hung on to win their league opener. 

“I just think we stayed together as a team. We just really battled out at the end,” Tiu said. 

Castaic fell just short of its first Foothill League win and has now lost four league games by five or fewer points in the last two seasons.  

Castaic shooting guard Jack Shand (21) grabs a rebound against Golden Valley during the first quarter of Friday’s game. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

“All losses don’t feel good. They went through the bad with West Ranch, now the close with Golden Valley, they’re gonna take both of these and learn from them,” Butler said. “We take the good and the bad and learn from it. We’ve got one more next week against Valencia and hope we can put it all together as a team.” 

Both teams have big long-term goals of extending their season deep into February.  

“We’re just trying to make it to playoffs and get that ring,” Tiu said. “It’s gonna take a lot of communication, a lot of dedication and practice, but we’ll get there.” 

Both teams return to league action on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. as Castaic hosts Valencia while Golden Valley heads to Hart. 

Castaic shooting guard Giovanni Valentin (1) goes up for a jump shot during the first quarter of Friday’s game against Golden Valley. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Golden Valley shooting guard Alexander Villejo (10) reaches for the ball during the first quarter of Friday’s game against Castaic on Dec. 1. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

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