Golden Valley steps up

Cougars overcome absence of Stillahn

Sjansen@mercedsunstar.comDecember 11, 2012 

— With Evan Stillahn fighting through an illness, Golden Valley High's boys basketball team needed some other players to step up and score.

Christian Carroll and Devon Powell were up to the task.

Carroll scored a game-high 24 points and Powell chipped in with 15 as the Cougars defeated Livingston 63-53 on Tuesday night at Livingston High.

"We did some pretty good things tonight," Golden Valley coach Keith Hunter said. "We did miss a lot of free throws. I thought Christian Carroll played fabulous. He handled the ball and made some shots.

"I thought Devon was great too. He scored some big points."

The Wolves (5-4) kept the game pretty tight throughout. It was a much different game than when the two teams met last year with Golden Valley blowing Livingston out 86-26.

Brian Perez had the hot hand early for the Wolves, scoring eight of his 16 points in the first quarter. The senior played tough inside, grabbing 12 rebounds.

"The effort is there," Livingston coach Angelo Naldi said. "I'm just trying to get the kids to understand that every possession is golden.

"We don't shoot exceptionally well from the outside. I thought we did a pretty good job inside against their big guy (Josh Sykes). We didn't get out to guard the 3 and they shot the 3 pretty well."

The Wolves turned the ball over 21 times in the game.

Golden Valley made seven 3-pointers in the game. Powell, who started in place of Stillahn, led the way with three 3-pointers.

Powell and Sykes each scored 10 points in the first half as the Cougars (7-2) took a 34-28 lead into intermission.

It didn't show up on the scoreboard, but Golden Valley's J.T. Edmunds came off the bench and gave Hunter some nice minutes.

Edmunds only scored two points in the game, however, he grabbed six rebounds with four of those coming on the offensive end.

He gave the Cougars some energy and some toughness inside when they needed it.

Carroll heated up in the second half, scoring 15 points in the final two quarters.

The junior point guard started the third quarter with a 3-pointers and later helped hold off a Livingston charge with a three-point play.

Livingston's Sean Brunelle scored all 12 of his points in the second half.

Just when it looked like the Cougars were going to put the Wolves away, Brunelle and company came charging back.

Carroll scored a basket in the paint to give Golden Valley a 44-33 lead with 3:57 left in the third quarter.

The Wolves responded with an 11-4 run. It was Brunelle scoring six points during that stretch that pulled the Wolves within 48-44.

The Cougars again had opportunities to pull away in the fourth quarter, but they were ice cold from the free-throw line.

Carroll was the exception, making 7 of 7 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter. The rest of the team combing to make just three of 12.

Golden Valley made just 14 of 28 free throws in the game.

Sykes finished with 11 points to go along with seven rebounds and two blocks. The 6-foot-6 junior would have finished with more, but his teammates couldn't connect on four alley-oop attempts.

"I think that's something we're going to have to work on in practice," Hunter said.

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