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It's an inside job at Grossmont

01/24/2014, 10:55pm PST
By Bill Dickens, Special to the U-T

Foothillers 6-foot-9 sophomore Tommy Rutherford a huge force in the paint.

Grossmont's Tommy Rutherford (left) battles for the ball against Brent Wilder of West Hills.

— When Grossmont High’s Tommy Rutherford was in sixth grade, he was 6-feet-1.

Now a sophomore, the Foothillers’ post man has risen to 6-9 and is still growing.

“I still may grow another inch or two, so I’m told,” Rutherford said. “I’ve never really had a growth spurt more than maybe an inch or an inch-and-a-half in any one year.”

Rutherford, who averages 22 points and 18 rebounds per game for the Grossmont Hills League-leading Foothillers, erupted for 25 points and 22 rebounds as Grossmont knocked off visiting West Hills 61-55 on Friday night.

“I really don’t have any statistical goals,” Rutherford said. “What I expect to do is play hard and do what it takes to make our team win.”

No question Rutherford gets bounced around the court by smaller opposing players.

“Playing physically is just another challenge,” he said. “It doesn’t bother me at all.”

Grossmont coach Frank Foggiano notes that Rutherford can do more than just score and rebound.

“He has a very good basketball knowledge,” Foggiano said. “He can do so many things well that a lot of big men can’t do. He can handle the ball well enough to bring it up against pressure.”

Rutherford also blocked four shots and dished out two assists against the Wolf Pack (10-6, 0-2).

Solid 6-5 sidekick Carl Blanchard, who is sometimes hidden in Rutherford’s shadow, is powerful in the paint. He had nine points, 13 rebounds and two steals.

Though Grossmont’s strength is inside, the Foothillers (15-4, 2-0) can score from beyond the arc as well. The No. 1 marksman is football quarterback Anthony Lawrence, who contributed 17 points, including three 3-pointers.

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