Energized Northridge outpaces Steamboat boys | SteamboatToday.com

Energized Northridge outpaces Steamboat boys

Ben Ingersoll

Northridge's Elijah Llamas pushes the ball past Steamboat Springs' Hector Lopez in the fourth quarter of the Grizzlies' 55-43 win against the Sailors on Friday night. A break-neck pace eventually downed Steamboat to 3-2 on the season.

— Speed and energy took down size and strength in Ramunno Gymnasium on Friday night.

Northridge High School boys basketball — which uses a break-neck style of play to make up for its serious lack of height — scratched and clawed its way to a 55-43 victory against Steamboat in Day 2 of the Shoot-Out.

The Grizzlies, out of Greeley, outscored the Sailors, 19-8, in the third quarter alone, building them an 11-point cushion that ultimately decided the game. A frenetic pace from start to finish helped keep that lead in tact despite a late fourth-quarter push from Steamboat.

"I think we finally got a rhythm," Northridge coach Terry Anderson said." We don’t have the size so we have to play at that pace, especially early in the year, a lot of teams aren’t used to playing like that. It kind of throws people off. Toward the third and fourth quarter, it kind of wears them down."

Along with Northridge’s quick hands and relentless energy on defense, the Grizzlies used a 10-man rotation compared to Steamboat’s seven, and it showed when body after body made up for 8 inches of height difference on Sailors big man Garrett Bye.

The Grizzlies also got red-hot shooting from 3-point land from the likes of sophomore Elijah Llamas and senior Brenden Fulton. And when their shots are falling, watch out, Anderson said.

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"They’ve put in a lot of work in the offseason, especially on their jump shots," Anderson said. "That’s an area they really wanted to improve on. We do work that a lot, and tonight it was falling so we stayed with it. Some nights it’s not so we have to find another way to win, but it worked out nicely for us tonight."

Steamboat got another solid night from Robi Powers stat wise with the junior’s 16 points and 10 rebounds, but a worn-down Sailors squad didn’t get a ton of efficiency from top to bottom.

Bye was held to nine points and five rebounds the night after recording a double-double. Austin Kerbs pitched in eight points, and Hector Lopez had five more. Outside of those four, no other Steamboat player had more than two points on the evening.

Credit Northridge, though, a team that didn’t necessarily catch Steamboat on a ice-cold night. The Sailors and Grizzlies each turned the ball over 13 times, and Steamboat actually out-rebounded its opposition, 30 to 19.

It was the hustle plays that did the Sailors in. Every lose ball was gobbled up by a Grizzly player, and if he didn’t get it, the Sailors recipient was harassed from baseline to baseline.

"Without having size, we have to do the dirty little things," Anderson said. "We have to hustle and get loose balls and box out a little bit better. We won’t have all the rebounds, so those little things we emphasize to key on."

Steamboat fell to 3-2 on the season. The team will close out the Steamboat Shoot-Out at 12:30 p.m. Saturday against Palmer Ridge.

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll.

Shoot-Out scores for Day 2

Boys

• Elizabeth 69, Roosevelt 46

• Battle Mountain 78, Palmer Ridge 74

• Colorado Academy 78, Eagle Valley 35

• Moffat County 71, Denver Christian 54

• Northridge 55, Steamboat Springs 43

Girls

• Battle Mountain 45, Discovery Canyon 36

• Palmer Ridge 72, Frederick 38

• Elizabeth 61, Steamboat Springs 24

• Eagle Valley 46, Prairie View 31