The Santa Cruz Warriors escaped the state of Texas with two wins in their first action of the year against the Tulsa 66ers and Texas Legends.
They dispatched the 66ers with ease in a game where their defense shown through with the final score being 95-79.
"We've spent 90 percent of practices on defense, so that's what I was pleased with," said coach Nate Bjorkgren.
In their second contest they faced a tough Legends team with former University of Memphis great Chris Douglas-Roberts who scored a ridiculous 49 points on the Warriors defense.
The game dragged on into double overtime. It was knotted up in the final two minutes of the second overtime, but the Warriors fought and came out on top 129-126.
Dominique Johnson was the high man for the Warriors dropping in 26 points and adding four steals as well.
Taylor Griffin came into his own and had a monster game for the Warriors with 20 points and 14 rebounds giving him a double-double for the game.
"I've talked a lot with coach of what he expects of me," said Griffin. "I joined the team half way through the season last year, and I was trying to find my way the whole time this year I'm here for the beginning and I hope it'll be a good season for me and a good season for us."
"They played very hard, and that's what i wanted to see out there," said Bjorkgren. "They competed, they played hard, and they translated what happened in training camp and practices. They turned that into a live game situation, and I was proud with the way we competed."
The Warriors now turn their focus to the real deal, their first regular season game against the Reno Bighorns on Friday November 30th. They'll hit the road for a majority of the month of December while the stadium is still under construction in Santa Cruz. Opening night is still scheduled for December 23 against the Bakersfield Jam.
More importantly, there is the upcoming roster trim from 12 players to 10 before opening night. It was a tough decision on coach Bjorkgren, but Japeth Aguilar was the odd men out.
At a long 6 foot 9 inches Aguilar does give the Warriors size and length in the post, but he only played 11 minutes and missed his only shot attemp on the night in their double overtime win against the Legends.
Notes on practice 11/20:
Stefhon Hannah was not at practice because of personal reasons, but Coach did say he would be back on Wednesday....Travis Leslie sat out of the final part of practice icing his left hip, but it did not look serious....Taylor Griffin finished off practice with a huge facial dunk on an assistant coach V during a low post drill.