HIGHLANDS RANCH – ThunderRidge executed its offense the way it is supposed to be run early in Friday night’s Continental League game against Legend in the Grizzles gym.
ThunderRidge, fourth in the state’s Class 5A rankings, moved the ball, screened, forced turnovers, sprinted to an early lead and was never threatened in a 66-54 win over the No. 10 Titans.
The Grizzlies improved to 11-4 on the season and emerged as one of three teams with a 3-0 record in the Continental League.
Legend had its five game winning streak snapped and fell to 2-1 in the league and 11-3 overall.
“Obviously they shot the ball real well especially in the first half,” Legend coach Kevin Boley said. “We turned it over way too much. It seemed like every time we turned it over they converted,
“We dug ourselves a hole and give them credit, they played real well. They shot well and executed well.”
Five of ThunderRidge’s six first quarter field goals were 3-pointers as the Grizzlies took a 21-9 lead after the first quarter.
Hunter O’Neill, a 6-foot-3 senior, had three of the five first quarter 3-point baskets for the Grizzlies who forced six Legend turnovers in the first eight minutes.
The closest the Titans could come to ThunderRidge was 10 points twice in the second quarter.
ThunderRidge had leads of 18 and 19 points in the second half although the Grizzlies cooled off a bit with their shooting.
In the first half, ThunderRidge was 9-of 18 but finished the game shooting 43.9 percent from the field. The Grizzlies hit seven 3-point baskets in the first half and had nine for the game.
Zach Rush, the 6-2 Colorado Mines-bound senior who is ThunderRidge’s leading scorer this season, finished with 22 points and hit 6-of-8 free throws in the final 1:37 of the game.
O’Neill swished five 3-point baskets and had 17 points while Joe Marucci, a 6-foot senior, wound up with 11 points
“The way they screen and the way they move the ball, that’s the way you do it,” said Boley. “We need to learn from this game, we need to grow.”
Senior guard Jonathon Cosmann had 17 points to pace the Titans.
In other Continental League boys action Friday night, No. 2 Mountain Vista and No. 6 Regis Jesuit won to improve to 3-0 in the league.
Mountain Vista whipped Littleton, 94-48, and Regis toppled Chaparral, 64-57.
Heritage beat Highlands Ranch in overtime, 70-64, Ponderosa defeated Castle View, 43-31 and Rock Canyon downed Douglas County, 64-48.