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Golden Eagles claw past Granite Bay

Hendricks scores 20, helps dig Del Oro out of early hole
By: Eric J. Gourley Journal Sports Writer
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GRANITE BAY — When sharp-shooting Aaron Hendricks lost his long distance touch, he started slashing through traffic to lead Del Oro High past archrival Granite Bay. Hendricks finished with a game-high 20 points in one of his best all-around performances of the season and the Golden Eagles erased an early deficit to beat the Grizzlies 72-52 in a Sierra Foothill League showdown Thursday night. Hendricks made two first-half 3-pointers but finished 2-for-10 from beyond the arc. His steal and ensuing layup less than two minutes before halftime gave Del Oro its first lead, 31-29. “Aaron’s really turned himself into a complete player,” said Eagles head coach Geoff Broyles. “Everybody knows him as a great shooter but he can take the ball to the basket. He elevates very, very well. He’s got a great first step. He’s got really good body control so he can maneuver himself to get shots off inside.” The Eagles, who trailed 7-0, 10-2 and 16-8 in the first quarter, held their advantage the rest of the way. Hendricks scored seven of Del Oro’s last nine points in the first half, but Robert Duncan’s 3-point buzzer-beater kept Granite Bay within striking distance at the intermission, 38-32. “We knew we just needed to come out and have a solid first half,” said Eagles head coach Geoff Broyles, whose squad beat Nevada Union earlier in the week after dropping two heartbreakers to open league play. “Both games we lost we just had difficulty scoring in the first half. We had good shots, we just weren’t knocking them down. It was just a matter of us getting a little bit of rhythm and getting some confidence. We’ve been playing with a little bit more of a sense of urgency the past couple of games on both sides of the court. We’re just playing better right now.” John Davis scored the first four points of the second half to bring the Grizzlies to within a basket, but that was as close as the hosts got the rest of the way. Hendricks tipped in a teammate’s miss to ignite a 9-0 run. Del Oro led by as many as 27 late in the fourth, as the Eagles’ student section broke into chants of “This is our house” and “Just like football.” Spencer Butterfield scored 13 and Luke Bradley finished with 12 points for Del Oro, which improved to 12-6 overall and 3-2 in the SFL. Davis scored 16 to lead Granite Bay (14-6, 2-3 SFL), while Duncan added 15 points. The Eagles host Rocklin next Wednesday.