Thunder looks for continuity at Holiday Tournament

Rocklin finishes 1-2
By: Jim Linsdau Placer Herald Sports Editor
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The Rocklin High boys basketball team continued its journey to find itself as a team by improving its play during their three-day Holiday Tournament held last weekend. The Thunder gave Inderkum a scare, defeated Ponderosa, and fell to Folsom in the consolation game, Saturday. Folsom came in with a good chance of making it to the championship game before being knocked onto the left side of the tournament bracket by Fairfield. After breezing past Ceres, the Bulldogs were able to top the home club, 56-45. The silver-and-blue came out strong to go into intermission with a two-point lead, but the ‘Dogs had chewed that up by the end of the third period. Folsom used a full-court trap defense to force Rocklin into a number of turnovers. After falling behind by the end of three, frustration caught up with the Thunder as the Bulldogs pulled away. “We’ve addressed some issues within our team,” said Rocklin head coach Mike Lorente during the tournament. “We have addressed some things that have stopped us from becoming a team that we can be.” Junior guard Devin Moss led Rocklin in scoring with 14 points, but was the only player in double figures. Daniel Kniffin added eight to the total, and Vinnie Safin tossed in six. After playing a solid game against Inderkum, Thursday, the boys in blue topped Ponderosa, 65-61, Friday, behind an 18-point performance by Moss. Keyshoun Williams added another nine, while Taylor Cherry chipped in eight, and Anthony Vandre seven. Lorente said he put his players through a hard practice the day before the tournament. He said he doesn’t like being hard on his team, but the issues keeping them from their 2011-’12 season goal had to be addressed. “I wanted them to understand that’s how you’ve got to go full time,” Lorente said. “And we continue to do better. But as I say it’s a battle, but it’s a good battle. Now I feel I have my troops with me.” After losing to Inderkum by 17 earlier in the month, the Thunder nearly upset the Tigers in the tournament. However, a 20-16 run in the fourth quarter pulled out the game for the visitors, 69-63. Inderkum led by two at halftime, but the boys in blue came out with a different plan in the third quarter. They hammered the boards early to go up by nine midway into the period. The Tigers then stepped up their defense to force Rocklin turnovers. “(Inderkum is) a good team. They shot the ball well and they played well. They were a team. I’ll take that loss” Lorente said. He said some of the things discussed prior to the tournament had to do with what was hampering their success. Lorente said the goal was for the Thunder to win 19 games this season, but the odds weren’t going in their favor. “We went heart-to-heart. We had to toss some things out and the team responded,” said Lorente. “They responded well. I’m proud of them.” Moss came up big with 19 points against the Tigers, and Cherry hit double figures pouring in 16. Hayden Cook added nine. Unofficially, Rocklin led in rebounding, but had almost twice as many turnovers as Inderkum. The Thunder was scheduled to return to action at Bella Vista 9-2), Wednesday, and then head for Vacaville (0-6) for a game tonight. They will head off for a tournament in Marin after Christmas. Inderkum 69, Rocklin 63 Tigers 14 12 23 20 – 69 Thunder 15 9 23 16 – 63 Rocklin 65, Ponderosa 61 Bruins 16 11 17 17 – 61 Thunder 11 17 18 19 – 65 Folsom 56, Rocklin 45 Bulldogs 13 9 15 19 – 56 Thunder 12 12 11 10 – 45