Back to back PCAC player of the week, Ronald Blain and the Grossmont Griffins (12-11, 4-3) take on rival S.D. City Knights (22-5), looking to avoid a 3-game series sweep.
Right out the gate both teams were on mission playing physical defense, forcing turnovers and diving for loose balls. Exhibited by forward Ronald Blain, the team’s leading rebounder, after he stripped a ball away from the Knights and Forward Corwin Feerick as he attempted to salvage a ball going out of bounds.
The energy in the building ramped up as the Knights and Griffins exchanged leads on 6 straight possessions. For every shot that went down by LeAndre Powell and Blain, the Knights were able to answer back. All the air left the building however once David Wheeler was forced to leave the game after suffering a brutal cut to the face, falling down below the basket onto the hardwood floor.
Just before the end of the half, The Griffins drew a charging call which gave them a new found energy going into the locker room at half time. The score was tied 33-33 with LeAndre Powell leading the way with 9 points.
The Knights surged ahead to start the second half, knocking down 4 three-pointers in a row and forcing errant passes by the Griffin offense, increasing their lead to 10 points. Just 5 minutes into the second half, the referee grew tired of the S.D. City Knight’s head coach’s animations and served him a technical foul for arguing about an out-of-bounds call. #1 of the Knights went on a shooting rampage and scored 3 three-pointers in a row.
Just as the Griffin crowd and bench were about to be taken out of the game emotionally, Blain bullied his way through the paint, scoring a layup while drawing a foul. That was just the beginning for Blain’s success in the second half. The newly announced player of the week made one of the most emphatic dunks seen by the whole team all season.
Blain’s dunk over a Knight caused the whole crowd to get on its feet in amazement of what they just saw. Blain’s celebration, running to half court and flexing his muscles, yelling, “I’m a man!” warranted a technical foul. Ronald Blain was playing out of his mind, scoring 8 of his teams last 10 points all coming from in the paint. It appeared as if he was going to bring the whole team back at once.
The Griffins began to slip away however. D’Aubre Doucette had trouble passing ball towards the end of the half, ending the night with 5 turnovers. When Grossmont went to the striped they were unable to cash in when they needed to most. The S.D. City Knights dunked their way to a win 82-67.
Blain’s team leading 20 points was not enough for the Griffins. The Knights pressure on defense proved too much to handle as they forced 22 turnovers in total. The Griffins (12-12, 4-4) next contest is against Imperial Valley on February 10th.
Other notable performances: LeAndre Powell scored 14 points and crashed the boards for 8 rebounds.