Cardinals overcome slow start, top VMS in 2011-12 opener
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
PARACHUTE, Colorado – Losing nine seniors would decimate most programs. Grand Valley might just be an exception.
Showing they still have some talent left on the roster, the defending 3A Western Slope League champion Cardinals took care of visiting Vail Mountain School, 54-32, in Thursday’s boys basketball season opener.
Overcoming a slow start, Grand Valley outscored the Gore Rangers, 34-17, in the second half to polish off the non-league win.
“I think it was just jitters in the first half,” said Cardinals senior Trever Smith, whose 21 points led all scorers. “We just settled down.”
Smith caught fire from outside, shooting 5-of-10 on 3-pointers. He drained three triples in the second quarter, helping Grand Valley to a 20-15 halftime lead.
Trent Riedle, who made habit of knifing through the lane for easy layups, finished with 15 points and a team-high eight rebounds for the Cardinals. Eddie Pena added 10 points and Reidle and Tyler Scott each had five steals.
The slow start aside, Grand Valley coach Jake Higuera had few complaints about Thursday’s season-opening effort.
“We’re just piecing it together,” he said. “The effort was fine. The catching the ball and the bad trips offensively, that was first-game stuff. I went in there and told the guys I’m excited about [the season]. We’ll see what we can do moving forward. We’ve got talent. We’ve just got to put it together.”
Smith is certainly optimistic about the Cardinals’ prospects.
“I think we can come back and be back-to-back league champs,” he said. “We just have to come back and work for it.”
Big man Sean McKeever led Vail Mountain with 16 points. Paco Holguin scored 10 for the Gore Rangers, who are off until Basalt visits Vail on Dec. 13.
Grand Valley faces rival Rifle in Parachute on Tuesday.
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