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Del Oro boys swat Granite Bay

By: Eric J. Gourley Journal Sports Writer
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LOOMIS — Aaron Hendricks’ best Lebron James impersonation helped Del Oro High improve its playoff position while dashing the postseason hopes of an archrival Wednesday night. Hendricks made one of the biggest defensive plays of his career, a monster block in the final minute of the Golden Eagles’ 64-61 Sierra Foothill League win over Granite Bay. Spencer Butterfield’s fadeaway put Del Oro (16-8, 7-4 SFL) on top 60-56 with 2:24 left, but Granite Bay’s Jake Riffice drilled a 3-pointer 30 seconds later to make it a one-point game. With less than a minute remaining and three fouls to give, Granite Bay’s Robert Duncan was playing tenacious defense on Butterfield at the top of the key. In what looked like a pure attempt to foul, Duncan knocked the ball out of Butterfield’s hands. Another Grizzly recovered and passed to Duncan near half court. The Granite Bay guard looked destined for a breakaway layup before Hendricks sprinted the length of the floor and came flying out of nowhere for the block. “As soon as it got knocked away Aaron took off and made about as good a defensive play as anybody can make,” head coach Geoff Broyles said. “It was phenomenal athleticism and great determination and heart just to get there. A lot of guys wouldn’t have even got there, and then to be able to time it and do it without fouling the kid is just an unbelievable basketball play.” Butterfield, who led all scorers with 21, buried an eight-footer at the other end with 42 seconds left, electrifying the crowd. He also made two free throws down the stretch to ice the win, the Eagles’ third straight. Granite Bay, ranked No. 14 in this week’s power ratings, fell to 15-10 overall and 4-7 in the SFL. The back-and-forth game featured 14 3-pointers, three ties and eight lead changes.