Golden Valley boys clinch share of CCC

Atwater boys have not beaten GV since 2003

sjansen@mercedsunstar.comJanuary 30, 2013 

The Golden Valley High boys basketball team had plenty of reasons to celebrate on Wednesday night.

At the top of the list was clinching a share of the Central California Conference championship after defeating Atwater 67-55.

A not too distant second on the list was earning a "free sock" night.

The Cougars (7-0 CCC, 20-4 overall) will be able to leave their white socks in their lockers and wear the socks of their choice during their next home game.

"Socks have never been an issue, but now they are," said Golden Valley coach Keith Hunter, whose team extended their winning streak to 10 games. "I've always been a white socks guys. I promised the team if outrebounded another team they get a free sock night."

The Cougars outrebounded the Falcons 36-23.

When is the last time Golden Valley outrebounded an opponent this year?

"It's been a while," Hunter said. "Our goal is to stay close because we're good in other areas."

J.T. Edmunds, Evan Stillahn and Christian Carroll all finished with six rebounds for Golden Valley.

"I've got my socks already picked out," Stillahn said. "We all have crazy socks. I think I have about 25 pairs.

"We're excited. Coach Hunter has been promising for a while. He's finally going to give it to us."

After a slow start, the Falcons (4-3, 15-9) battled back into the game with a strong second quarter.

Atwater cut a 10-point deficit to just two points at 27-25 after a pair of Hector Rodriguez free throws with 2 minutes, 34 seconds left in the first half.

The Cougars pushed the lead to 34-27 at intermission and then put the game away in the third quarter.

Golden Valley used a 9-0 run to extend its lead to 47-30 with 3:34 left in the third quarter.

"We called a couple sets in that run and I liked our execution," Hunter said. "We had a nice pick-and-roll, we ran our Cougar play. We did some nice things, and of course, you can't extend your lead without getting stops."

Carroll led Golden Valley with 16 points. Stillahn and Sykes added 12 points, with Sykes throwing down two impressive dunks.

While the dunks brought the crowd to their feet it was the the Cougars work on the glass that will allow them to turn some heads with their stylish socks next week.

"That was big," Stillahn said. "Rebounding is important because when you rebound you're not giving up second shots. When you don't give up second shots the other team isn't scoring as much."

Ben Peterson led Atwater with 20 points. Daniel Motz knocked down four 3-pointers and finished with 15 points.

However, the Falcons' 28 turnovers were too much to overcome.

"They just outplayed us in that third quarter," Atwater coach Tony Hillyer. "I told them we have to play four quarters to beat Golden Valley.

"The last time we played them we played two quarters. I thought we learned our lesson."

The win extended the Cougars' streak to 26 straight wins over Atwater, dating back to 2003.

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