GLENDALE — Despite tweaking both of his ankles, Sontiago Grady had enough stamina to provide the members of the Glendale Community College men’s basketball team with a different dimension Friday.
The Vaqueros have spent the first part of the season using Grady, a freshman wing, for solid outside shooting to balance a steady inside game.
Grady turned in another quality effort, as he made three three-pointers to help Glendale post a 62-48 victory against Cuyacama in a semifinal game of the Vaquero Classic.
Glendale (8-2) will meet Orange Coast in the tournament’s championship game at 5 p.m. Saturday.
Glendale led throughout Friday’s game with Grady paving the way against the Coyotes (5-5). He scored 11 points, as he made four of six shots from the field and contributed three assists.
“I just try to go out there and shoot well and make the right plays,” said Grady, who rolled his right ankle in the first half and his left ankle in the second half before being removed with about five minutes left in the game. “I think my ankles will be fine [for Saturday’s game].
“We have a team that’s still growing. We have a lot of potential. When we keep playing hard defensively, we feel like we can beat any team.”
Grady made a three-pointer to give the Vaqueros, who lost to Orange Coast in the tournament’s title game last season, a 12-2 lead with 15:50 left in the first half. He then made another three-pointer on Glendale’s next possession to extend the lead to 15-2.
Grady gave the Vaqueros a 27-7 advantage with 6:30 remaining in the first half. Glendale freshman guard Jalen Etienne closed out the first-half scoring with a three-pointer at the buzzer to make it 33-15. The Vaqueros made 11 of 25 shots in the first half (44%).
Veteran Glendale Coach Brian Beauchemin, who picked up his 578 career victory since taking over the program in 1979, said Grady jump-started the Vaqueros early in the first quarter.
“I was glad to see him get it going right away,” said Beauchemin, who received 12 points and seven rebounds from sophomore forward Gor Plavchyan and nine points apiece from Etienne, freshman guard Jason Moore and sophomore guard Emerson Castaneda (St. Francis High). “He’s also been rebounding well lately.
“Sontiago and Emerson are two perimeter guys who can put the ball down. Our big guys aren’t afraid to throw it out to them for shots.”
Glendale, which got seven points and 11 rebounds from sophomore wing Emmett Duvall, saw the Coyotes make a bit of a run early in the second half. Tim Pace made a short jump shot to bring the Coyotes to within 36-29 with 13:10 left in the contest. Glendale seized the momentum with a three-point play by Duvall to make it 39-29 advantage on the ensuing possession.
Grady’s final three-pointer gave the Vaqueros a 46-35 lead with 8:42 to go.
Garrett Larch-Miller finished with 15 points for the Coyotes, who got 13 from Jeff Bartley and will take on Rio Hondo in the tournament’s third-place game at 3 p.m. Saturday.