Granite Bay girls outlast Colfax at Folsom tourney

Grizzlies second-half defense is key to victory
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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A fast-paced up-and-down game turned into a tight defensive struggle as the Granite Bay High girls basketball team held off a tough Colfax team Tuesday night. The Grizzlies won the second round duel at the Folsom Lady Bulldog Winter Classic 48-44 to stay in the winners’ bracket at the 16-team, four-day event. To win, Granite Bay had to survive scoring just 27 points over the final 24 minutes after hanging 21 in the first quarter. The long-range shooting of Libby Jelinek (five points), Sarah Sciascia (eight points) and Hannah Mashaw (six points) provided most of the Grizzlies’ early offense. Sciascia was also very active in the paint and hit all three of her free throws in the period. A pair of April Littlejohn treys and seven points from Michelle Walker gave Colfax most of its first-quarter scoring as Granite Bay led 21-16 after one. Walker continued to play well in the second stanza, and was joined by the strong play of Audrey Lewis as the Falcons tied the game at 28-28 by intermission. Sciascia (four rebounds in the quarter) and Walker (five boards) dominated the glass in the second period. Granite Bay found its interior defense after the break and held Walker, who tallied 13 points in the first half, scoreless in the second half. Walker was not alone in struggling to find offense after halftime as the teams combined for just nine points in the third quarter. Four minutes in, Colfax had the only two points of the quarter, which ended with the Falcons up one point, at 33-32. Led once again by the play at the offensive end of Sciascia, Mashaw and Jelinek, Granite Bay opened up a six-point lead in the early stages of the final period. Another major key for the Grizzlies came in the play of reserve forward Jessica Hamby. With Alexis Stevens spending much of the second half in foul trouble, Hamby grabbed seven boards after the break, with six of those coming on the offensive window to keep possessions alive. Colfax was not done, however, and the Falcons pulled even at the 2:30 mark behind the scoring of Cassandra Campbell, who scored five points in the final stanza, and Lewis. With two minutes to go, Jelinek stepped up big for the Grizzlies. A put-back after a Sciascia miss put Granite Bay back on top at 43-41 and another basket 30 seconds later doubled the advantage to 45-41. Sciascia hit a pair of charity tosses to up the margin to six before a Campbell 3-pointer halved the deficit to 47-44 with just 40 seconds remaining. The Lady Grizzlies left the door open down the stretch as they missed the front end of three consecutive one-and-one opportunities, but a key steal by Hamby and some solid play at the defensive end allowed Granite Bay to secure the win. Colfax moved on to battle Mira Loma in a third-round consolation game on Wednesday, while the Grizzlies faced the host team in the tournament semifinal Wednesday night. “We will have a rematch of our opening game of the season tonight against Folsom, who we beat 40-24 on December 1,” said Granite Bay coach Melissa Triebwasser. “They come in on a six-game winning streak and as a very hot team. We will put a five-game streak on the line.”