It’s taken a while, but maybe Geyer’s words are proving prophetic.
St. Michael’s got 19 points from Jeff Groenewold and eight apiece from Daniel Ortega and Justin Flores in a 43-27 win over Silver in Friday night’s second round of the St. Michael’s Invitational in Perez-Shelley Memorial Gymnasium.
It was the fourth straight win in what is becoming a roller-coaster year for the Horsemen (9-6). They started the season 3-0, losing Barela in the process. They then lost four straight, won two in a row and dropped two more before starting the current streak.
The one constant has been the team’s defense. Friday’s win was the third straight in which an opponent failed to score at least 30 points and was the eighth time in nine tries that a team was held under 45.
“Well, defense has always been our thing,” Groenewold said. “If we can figure some things out on offense we’re going to start getting this thing going.”
Mired in a shooting slump until just recently, Groenewold gave reason to believe that he might be able to provide some scoring punch. All but two of his points came in the first half as he singlehandedly outscored the Colts (8-5), 17-14, in the first half.
“All of us have the chance to shoot if we’ve got the shot and we’re open,” Groenewold said. “This was just one of those times where I was getting the look and I took it.”
Groenewold hit five of his first six shots and had 12 points in the first quarter. He answered that with a pair of free throws and his third 3-pointer of the game midway through the second quarter to help put Silver in a 27-11 hole.
At 6-foot-3, Flores has the potential to at least fill some of the void left by Barela in the low post.
Inserted into the starting lineup next to senior Salomon Martinez, Flores had five rebounds to go with his quartet of buckets in the paint.
“I’m not really in there for Matt; all of us on this team can step in and get playing time,” he said. “Matt was a big part of this team. It’s up to the rest of us to keep it going.”
While points may be at a premium for the Horsemen, there’s been no dip at all in the team’s defense.
Silver was held without a field goal until for the entire third quarter and had just seven made shots the entire game. Derek Salas, who had 20 points in a Thursday win over Robertson, was held to just five.
Silver’s bench was also outscored 12-1. That one point came on a free throw in the game’s final minute.
The round-robin tournament wraps up Saturday night with Silver facing Bloomfield at 5:30 and St. Michael’s taking on Robertson at approximately 7.
Robertson 71, Bloomfield 53
Ryan Tafoya led four Cardinals in double figures with 14 points.
Jalen Martinez added 13, Joe Mascarenas 12 and Brandon Trujillo 10 to help Robertson (5-8) get its first win in the tournament.
The Cardinals led 34-21 at halftime and were never seriously threatened in the second half.
Michael Crockett had 15 to lead Bloomfield (5-10), which has now lost four straight games.