From tip-off, it was all Righetti High boys basketball.
Senior small forward Ryan McGready made that known early, as he scored the Warriors’ first eight points, followed by six straight points from 6-foot-6 freshman standout Cameron Walker.
And all night long, Arroyo Grande had no response.
The Eagles never led and never threatened, ultimately falling 70-45 to a talented Righetti team (11-3 overall) in Wednesday’s PAC 7 opener for both teams in front of a nearly packed Arroyo Grande gym.
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Eagles coach Ryan Glanville knew it wouldn’t be easy to pull off a win, but he just didn’t expect how his players behaved during the game.
“What I’m really disappointed in right now is the character that we showed tonight,” he said, standing across from a banner just outside of his team’s locker room that states the importance of sportsmanship. “Our basketball program has been built on doing things the right way and playing with integrity and the young men I had on the floor tonight, some of them didn’t do that.”
Glanville did not mention any names, but there was one unfortunate instance in the game that fits with his statement. It happened early in the fourth quarter, when Walker — who’s already garnering PAC 12 interest — was about to complete a fast-break dunk. In midair, Jackson Zimmerman came from behind to block the shot but was called for a foul. That didn’t stop Zimmerman from getting in Walker’s face, enough to earn him a technical foul.
Walker did not react to the confrontation and finished the sequence by hitting four straight free throws en route to an 18-point night. McGready, who opened the game with a solo 8-2 run, finished with 21.
“It’s not so much the loss,” Glanville said, “but the way that we lost.”
And when asked if he noticed any positives from his team’s performance, he said, “There were no bright spots tonight.”
The lopsided defeat dropped Arroyo Grande to 7-8 overall after a nonleague schedule in which the Eagles were still adjusting to a group of players who came from a long football season that ended Dec. 9, when the likes of Garrett Owens and Brent VanderVeen — he finished with nine points against Righetti — gave the school its first CIF-Southern Section title since 1998.
Arroyo Grande senior guard Gunnar Gomez tried his best in Wednesday’s game, but his 14 points and four 3-pointers weren’t nearly enough to keep up with Righetti.
“We’re looking to come back (today) and practice harder than ever,” Gomez said afterward. “We need to get together more as a team.”
Arroyo Grande fell behind 33-19 at halftime, and watched Walker, Hunter Walker (11 points), McGready and the rest of the Warriors jump out to a 13-5 surge to open the fourth quarter with a 59-35 lead.
Righetti led by as many as 28 points.
“When you play a team with a lot of talent, we knew it was going to be a tough one tonight,” Glanville said of the Warriors, who are ranked 24th in the Southland in the Los Angeles Times’ top 25 poll. “We’re trying to build a team, we’re trying to put a group of guys together who are willing to share the ball and play the game the way it should be played. It’s a work in progress for us.”