Cardinals looking to get back to state playoffs | PostIndependent.com

Cardinals looking to get back to state playoffs

Coming off of a Sweet Sixteen appearance in the 3A Colorado High School Activities Association’s state playoff tournament this past spring, the Grand Valley Cardinals’ boys basketball team will have its work cut out this time around as Head Coach Scott Parker will lead a team looking to replace nearly 60 points per game from last season in which the Cardinals went 21-5 (12-2 3A Western Slope League).

Gone is standout guard John Parker, forward Tanner Magee and guard Leoray Hernandez due to graduation, while guard Gunner Rigsby transferred to Fruita Monument to run with the Wildcats.

The departures leave the Cardinal program looking for answers, which it hopes comes in the form of junior forward Garett Magee and sophomore forward Indra Griggs. The duo will have to step up in a big way to lead the Parachute program back to the Sweet Sixteen in 2016-17.

“Expectations haven’t changed around here,” Parker said. “This current group has worked hard together over the last two years. We’re really looking forward to this season with this group because we feel we have a lot of talent here. We’re going to push the pace and play physical defense like we always do.”

Grand Valley will open the season against the Colorado Springs Christian Lions on Friday night at the Jefferson Academy Tournament with just one returning starter from last year.

Head Coach: Scott Parker, fifth season

Last Season: 21-5, 12-2 3A WSL, lost to Manitou Springs in Sweet Sixteen of 3A state playoffs

Key Players: Garett Magee, Jr., F; Indra Griggs, So., F

Players to Watch: Kade Hurst, Jr., PG; Jeff Holbrook, Jr., SG; Austin Walck, Sr., F; Laytham Magana, Jr., G; Brenden Hagerty, Jr., G

Much like the Grand Valley boys team from 2015-16, this version of the Grand Valley girls teams might light up scoreboards at the same pace in 2016-17.

Led by All-Conference guards Kylyn Rigsby and Shaya Chenoweth, along with All-Conference forward Bailey Rowe, the Cardinals return the trio as starters as the veteran, experienced group chases a 3A Western Slope League title under Head Coach Jake Higuera.

With Rigsby, one of the best guards in all of 3A in the state of Colorado, the Cardinals will look to push the pace to run teams out of the gym. Last season that seemed to be a standard occurrence with the Cardinals, who scored nearly 50 points per game with the trio scoring in double digits all season.

Now, with another year of experience as a group and another year of growth from the trio, along with the addition of freshman guard Jordyn Pittman and the improvement of senior forward Hannah Fenton, the Cardinals are deep heading into the season.

Putting that all together has expectations sky high in the 2016-17 for the Cardinals.

“One of our goals is to win league this season,” Higuera said. “But the expectations have always been high here. That being said, we know every single game on our schedule this season is going to be tough. We’re hungry and focused though, and we’re looking forward to the season. This season is a great opportunity for us.”

After making the state playoffs last year before falling in the first round, the Cardinals are looking to make a deep run this season and leave a lasting mark on the Parachute program.

Head Coach: Jake Higuera, third season

Last Season: 17-6, 11-3 3A WSL, lost to Colorado Springs Christian in the first round of the 3A state playoffs

Key Players: Kylyn Rigsby, Sr., G; Bailey Rowe, Sr., F; Shaya Chenoweth, So., G

Players to Watch: Hannah Fenton, Sr., F; Jordyn Pittman, Fr., G