Varsity Basketball

Grizzlies remain red hot

Kapaun's Dyllon Knox gaurds Northwest's Brian Beiker during the first half on Friday, November 18, 2009.
Kapaun's Dyllon Knox gaurds Northwest's Brian Beiker during the first half on Friday, November 18, 2009. Correspondent

From the perspective of Northwest boys basketball coach Chris Collins, things always begin in the short term.Focus on the here and now, and then it grows into a body of work.

The philosophy represents the Grizzlies well. Northwest didn’t build its case to be a City League contender with its 75-63 victory over Kapaun Mount Carmel on Friday night.

These Grizzlies — virtually the same ones that finished last season with three wins — have quietly pieced together a 4-1 start in City League play, which is tied for the lead with Heights entering the winter break.

“We don’t think of it as a whole game,” Collins explained. “We think of it as eight mini-games and we just play at four minutes at a time.”

Splitting the game into pieces has expedited the learning curve for Northwest, which plays five underclassmen.

“I challenge them to do a lot of the little things well,” Collins said. “It’s a long list, which becomes an overall huge thing. Just focusing on doing the little incremental things well, then you have a body of work.”

Those little things are a popular demand from coaches.

Northwest took a 46-44 lead into the fourth quarter, but Kapaun struggled to make baskets (34.2 percent), take advantage of free throws (5 of 17) and take care of the ball (15 turnovers).

“We didn’t do the little things well enough to get the ‘W,’æ” Kapaun coach Bernie Pearson said. “That was an opportunity that we let slip away. There were several times we had them on the ropes and we didn’t execute.”

The largest lead through three quarters actually belonged to the Crusaders at 43-38.

Things stayed close into the fourth, but a two-point Northwest lead with five minutes remaining ballooned to as many as 16.

Northwest made 20 of 34 free throws in the second half. Craig Nicholson made 10 of those to score a game-high 21 points. Dave Carson added 13 and Anthony Collins scored 10 points for the Grizzlies.

Kapaun (2-2, 2-2 CL) out-rebounded Northwest 55-40, but received 19 points from its starters. Dyllon Knox led the Crusaders with 15 points off the bench.

So far this season, the work over the summer done by the Grizzlies has transformed a young and talented team into a contender.

Still, Northwest has yet to play Heights or East. To compete, there are still things that must be cleaned up.

“I think mostly our defense,” Anthony Collins said. “We play good as an offensive team, but we kind of get stuck. Teams get a whole bunch of runs on us and we need to stop that.”

Still, after five league games the Grizzlies have introduced themselves as surprise contenders.

“Yeah, I think we have,” Nicholson said. “We’ve been working hard over the summer.”

Kapaun (2-2, 2-2) 11 19 14 19 — 63

Northwest (4-2, 4-1) 13 14 19 29 — 75

KAPAUN: Lewis 4 0-1 8, Martin 1 0-0 3, Smalls 2 0-0 4, Reynolds 2 0-3 4, Knox 7 0-3 15, Boswell 4 0-0 11, Laveist 1 1-1 3, Rasmussen 3 0-3 7, Floyd 1 3-4 5, Griffith 1 0-0 2, Washington 0 1-2 1. Totals 26 (6) 5-17 63.

NORTHWEST: Nicholson 5 10-14 21, Carson 4 4-4 13, Landenberger 3 2-2 8, Fox 1 4-8 6, Gales 3 2-4 8, Johnson 4 1-4 9, Collins 4 2-5 10. Totals 24 (2) 25-41 75.