Ryan Grande thrives in role he won at Sierra Canyon ahead of Open Division playoffs – Daily News
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NORTHRIDGE – When Ryan Grande arrived in Sierra Canyon, men’s basketball coach Andre Chevalier had no idea where the La Canada High sniper might fit in.
“Honestly, we didn’t think he was going to have a lot of playing time,” Chevalier said of Grande. “He was going to have to scratch and scratch for the time, but he’s become a guy who does everything right. Every little thing, the extra spin, come back on defense. His effort and understanding is the reason we cannot take him out of the starting line-up.
He not only won the role, but he’s playing it.
Grande, a 6-foot-2, scored 16 points, including five from 3 points, in the Trailblazers’ regular season final at Heritage Christian on Saturday afternoon, helping them move up to 12-0 with a victory from 88-76.
Juniors Amari Bailey and Shy Odom each scored 26 points. Isaiah Elohim, the first Christian year of heritage, had 22.
Sierra Canyon will now await the exit of the ICF Southern Section Open Division playoffs on Sunday morning. This will be Grande’s first time competing in the section’s Premier League.
“We needed a game like this,” Grande said of Saturday’s game. “A tough game to test our confidence in each other in a close game.”
Heritage Christian had a 22-21 lead at the end of the first quarter. Sierra Canyon was up 37-36 at the halftime.
At every turn, there was someone who was making a big play for their team. A Bailey dunk one moment, a mid-range Elohim sweater the next. The game was tied at 66 with just over six minutes to go. Grande pulled a 3-point turn with 2:20 left to give Sierra Canyon a 76-70 lead.
Shy Odom dunk. Nice set against the zone. pic.twitter.com/XtDQ35Eqqt
– Tarek Fattal (@Tarek_Fattal) May 22, 2021
“There are so many great players around me that the defense has to respect and that leaves me wide open,” said Grande. “(My teammates) trust me to make big plays and big shots. I am satisfied with my role in this team and I could not ask for more.
Heritage Christian (18-6), who suffered a two-point loss to Ribet Academy last week, had to beat Sierra Canyon for any chance of qualifying in the open division. Despite the team’s apparent talent, it is likely that the Warriors will remain on the outside, which will leave them vying for the Division 1 crown, possibly as a seed in the field.
Open division field prediction
The open division field will be announced on Sunday morning, but here’s a prediction on the open division selections:
Sierra Canyon, Centenary of Corona, Saint-Jean Bosco, Mater Dei, Etiwanda, Académie Ribet, Damien, Harvard-Westlake.
End of season drama
The Newbury Park boys’ basketball team beat Oaks Christian 47-40 on Friday night, which forced a tie-breaker game on Saturday morning – between Newbury Park and Thousand Oaks – to determine the final automatic qualifier of the Marmonte League.
Thousand Oaks won 59-54 in overtime with 18 points and eight rebounds from Patrick Saari.
Faith Baptist, led by freshman coach Rolo Nunez, beat St. Monica Academy 52-42 on Friday to earn an automatic spot in the Heritage League. AC Swadling led the Contenders with 22 points.