As good as the Gridley boys basketball team has been at times this year, their recent slump had the potential to put them in a big hole. After an 8-3 start to the season, the Bulldogs had lost five of six heading into a Butte View League matchup against Orland.

As good as the Gridley boys basketball team has been at times this year, their recent slump had the potential to put them in a big hole. After an 8-3 start to the season, the Bulldogs had lost five of six heading into a Butte View League matchup against Orland.

After tough losses to Sutter and Las Plumas to start their league schedule, a loss to the Trojans would've made Gridley 0-3 in the BVL. With their backs against the wall, the Bulldogs came up with a huge 64-50 win on Friday.

"That's huge," Ty Nichols said after the game. "We've been in kind of a slump lately and we really needed a victory."

Both Sutter and Las Plumas are undefeated (3-0) in the league, although Gridley has a better overall record (10-8) than everyone except the Huskies (13-4). Even fifth place Orland is 9-10.

Trevor Scott nailed the first shot of the game, and hit two free throws later to put Gridley up 4-0 early in the game. Vincent Spring scored twice and Scott hit a three as an Orland defender overran the ball, as Gridley built a modest 11-5 lead.

But the Trojans then went on a 12-0 run fueled by sharp shooting and quick scores. A steal and easy layup gave Orland their first lead, and two jumpers by Bobby Lombardi made it 17-11 for the visitors, midway through the second quarter.

Gridley finished the half strong, with another three by Scott, a great save by Bryan Monzon that led to a score, and scores by Josh Pippitt, Scott Peck, Monzon and Nichols. The Bulldogs trailed 25-24 at halftime.

Head coach Jamie Spring came out with a different strategy in the second half. With all of Orland's guards, he didn't think they could press them in the backcourt. They tried it in the second half, while allowing the ball to be thrown in, and it led to numerous turnovers and few fouls.

"They never really responded to it," Spring said. "I expected to be able to do it once, twice, three times and have them adjust, and they didn't. Our guys were too quick for them."

Even when Orland was able to break the press, as Spring pointed out, it took them out of their offense and out of their game, and they were unable to get good shots.

Gridley scored the first seven points of the second half and were up 31-25 after two minutes. They would give up the lead a couple more times in the third, before completely blowing out the Trojans in the fourth quarter.

Three straight times at the end of the third, Nichols grabbed offensive rebounds inside and scored. Gridley took a 41-39 lead into the final quarter as Nichols slowly began to take over.
Another put back for Nichols in the fourth quarter gave Gridley their first lead bigger than six, 49-42. Nichols scored again on a banked hook shot and then drove inside and assisted on an Israel Garcia score to make it 53-42 with 3:48 remaining.

"I felt the intensity rising and the crowd getting into it," Nichols said of his second half performance. "It really felt good."

After Nichols hit two free throws, Zane McFarlane had a steal in the backcourt that he turned into an easy layup, then drove inside and hit a lefty layup to make it 59-42 with 2:35 remaining. Gridley had outscored Orland 18-3 in the first 5:25 of the fourth quarter.

Nichols was later subbed out to a good ovation as the game was well in hand. To Orland's credit, they never quit and were even fouling with 1:17 remaining, down by 14. Gridley made enough of their free throws to hold on to a 64-50 win.

"That was huge," Spring said of the win. "We felt like we should've played well our first two league games and we were disappointed with the outcomes there. We should've beat L.P. at home.

"Coming out in the second half, playing the way we did, that's what we need to do more often. Again, it seems like we didn't do much in the first half. Our game tends to start in the third quarter."

Nichols led all scorers with 21 points, while Scott had 11, Peck and McFarlane had eight, Monzon and Spring had four, Garcia had three, Pippitt and Carmona had two and Alexander Agapiades had one.

Gridley is on the road this week before returning on February 3 to take on Hamilton (9-7).