Grand Valley girls edge Bruins in 3A WSL district basketball tourney
Post Independent Sports Editor
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
PARACHUTE, Colorado – The two points Kyra Chenoweth scored late in Grand Valley’s Class 3A Western Slope League District Tournament game Thursday against Cedaredge were the biggest of the game for the Cardinals.
And the way she scored them was unconventional.
Chenoweth’s offensive rebound off a missed foul shot with 30.3 seconds remaining resulted in another trip the free-throw line. The sophomore followed with another free throw that gave Grand Valley an eight-point cushion, which was enough breathing room to send the Cardinals to the tournament semifinals after a 57-50 victory.
“That was huge,” Cardinals coach Mike Johnson said. “She’s a big piece of what we’re doing, and she’s had a lot of really big moments.”
The Cardinals (15-5) have a chance to capture some more big moments starting today. Thursday’s win clinched a berth in the Class 3A state tournament and moved Grand Valley into tonight’s district semifinal against Olathe. Game time is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Palisade High School.
Haley Johnson scored 14 points and Rocio Roman added 13 to pace Grand Valley, which hit five of its six 3-pointers in the first quarter to take an early 23-6 lead. But the Bruins (7-13) wouldn’t go away, chipping away at the lead and pulling within three by the fourth quarter before the Cardinals put the game away on foul shots.
“I don’t know what happened,” Haley Johnson said. “We hit all of our shots in the beginning, but then our defense wasn’t where it needed to be. It was a battle the rest of the time.”
Jordan Smith scored a game-high 15 points and Kristen Gardner added 13 for the Bruins, whose performance at the free-throw line (5-for-21 shooting) made a major difference in the outcome. Grand Valley, meanwhile, finished 25 of 33 from the line, including a 12-for-16 performance in the game’s final five minutes.
All but two of the Cardinals’ fourth-quarter points came via the foul shot. A free throw by Smith, however, which followed a 3-pointer she made just 22 seconds earlier, pulled the Bruins within 43-40 with 5:21 remaining.
Grand Valley kept its distance by hitting its foul shots over the next four minutes, but were only up 52-46 after a pair from the charity stripe from Lindsey Gardner with 1:17 on the clock.
But after Johnson rebounded Gardner’s miss on her second foul shot, Chenoweth was fouled on the other end on a drive to the rim with 31.5 seconds left. She hit her first foul shot but missed her second, which set up her key rebound and second free throw that made it a three-possession game at 54-46.
“I just saw an opening and went for it,” Chenoweth said. “I knew my team really needed that.”
Roman finished with three of Grand Valley’s six 3-pointers and Ashlynn Speakman added a pair of 3s and eight points for the Cardinals.
BASALT, Colorado – The Grand Valley boys basketball team saw its five-game winning streak – and season – come to an end Thursday after a 39-37 loss at Basalt in the first round of the 3A Western Slope League District Tournament.
The Cardinals finished the season 6-14 overall.
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