Grand Valley girls suffer 52-33 semifinal loss to Platte Valley
The Grand Valley girls’ state championship run ended Friday night after No. 1 and still undefeated Platte Valley Broncos bested the Cardinals 52-33.
“There’s a reason (Platte Valley) hasn’t lost in a couple years,” Cardinals head coach Scott Parker said. “They’ve got very talented players, they’re deep and well-coached.”
The 3A semifinal loss means No. 4 Grand Valley plays No. 3 The Vanguard School in a third-place final at the University of Denver’s Hamilton Gymnasium at noon Saturday.
Despite getting outscored 26-11 in the second half, a first-half surge saw the Cardinals pull within just one point of the Broncos.
The first quarter was all Broncos as junior Bree Bunting hit a three-pointer and another short jumper, leading to a 9-0 Broncos run after tip-off.
Parker called two timeouts in the first quarter.
But Cardinals sophomore Jaycee Pittmann later answered back, draining a three-pointer while getting fouled. She’d hit the free-throw after and complete the four-point play.
Cardinals junior AbbyRose Parker, coming off a 19-point night against St. Mary’s on Thursday, drained another Grand valley three pointer.
Grand Valley headed into the second quarter down 15-7.
Bunting, who ended the game with 21 points and four blocks, immediately started the second quarter hitting her second three pointer of the night.
After that, the Cardinals turned red hot on offense, going on a 13-3 run. On the flipside, the Broncos ended the first half with eight turnovers.
Around the 4:46 mark in the second quarter, Parker hit a two-point bucket while drawing a foul off a spin move.
A couple minutes later, Pittman drew two key fouls, hitting three free throws at the line that would shrink the Broncos’ lead 21-20.
“In the second quarter there, we were able to get to the bucket and get some inside and outside shots. That’s what our strength is offensively,” Scott Parker said. “They got on us a little bit right at the start of the first quarter, but we were able to get some things going in the second quarter.”
Platte Valley Head Coach Tonya Schissler was forced to call a 30-second timeout at the 2:45 mark.
After Bunting hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer, however, the Broncos headed into halftime up 26-20.
Back in the third quarter, the Broncos would go on a 12-2 run. Platte Valley junior Andi Schissler, who already dropped 11 points so far, scored a two-point basket while drawing a foul. Chipping in the free throw, Platte Valley were now up 33-22 after the 6-minute mark.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals were held to just two points via a 17-footer hit by Grand Valley senior Kaylie Stark.
“In the third quarter, we couldn’t get into a flow offensively and get some transition buckets, and (the Broncos) were able to stretch the lead,“ Scott Parker said.
By the fourth quarter, Grand Valley just could not find the net. Parker went cold, while senior teammate Bailey Radel, who’s been lights out in regionals and the state tourney, was limited to one three-pointer all game.
Pittman ended the game with a 10-point, 14-rebound double-double, including 2 blocks. Parker ended the game with 16 points, going 5-7 at the free throw line.
“It’s a been good run. It’s been a lot of fun, and we always talk about trying to to play our best ball at the end of the season,” Scott Parker said. “I thought we did.”
Platte Valley now takes on No. 2 University for the 3A state title at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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