Johnson leads Grand Valley girls to win
CARBONDALE, Colorado – Grand Valley’s Haley Johnson scored 26 points, including seven 3-pointers, as the Lady Cardinals controlled a fast-paced game from the opening tipoff en route to a 61-49 win over host Roaring Fork Friday night.
“Her teammates did a nice job of finding her when she had the open shot,” Grand Valley coach Mike Johnson said of the assists that led to his daughter’s impressive scoring output.
“Any time you have a night shooting that well, it’s because you’re getting the right shots,” he said.
It was the most 3-pointers the Lady Cardinals’ junior could recall making in any single game.
“We play fast, and that leads to those opportunities,” Haley Johnson said. “If we’re making our passes and not having turnovers, no team can keep up with our quickness.”
As a team, Grand Valley (10-4 overall, 8-3 in the 3A Western Slope League) scored 33 of its points from beyond the 3-point arc.
A good game plan, considering Roaring Fork’s imposing front line of Hattie and Megan Gianinetti and Maddie Nieslanik working the paint.
“This is a tough matchup for us, with their size,” coach Johnson said. “We just have to focus and try to be mentally tough.”
After falling behind by 14 points late in the second quarter, 25-11, the Rams made a late run to cut the lead to six at halftime.
Sophomore Emily Fisher and senior Shaeley Lough each hit 3-pointers of their own during that stretch to get the host team back in the game.
Grand Valley opened the third quarter with a 7-0 run after junior Ashley Radel hit a 3-pointer to start things off. By the end of the third, Roaring Fork again only trailed by six.
“At times, we were really good tonight,” Lady Rams coach Kirk Cheney said. “We were just having trouble getting it to go our way. That’s when we tend to press a little bit too much and make mistakes.
“When you beat yourself, you just give the other team a chance,” he said.
Roaring Fork put together a comeback early in the fourth quarter, tying the game for the first time since early in the second quarter, 39-39, with five minutes, 36 seconds to play in the game.
But the Lady Cardinals quickly took back control of the game, going on a 12-1 run that left Roaring Fork gasping for air before the timeout call came.
The resurgent Rams again mustered a 7-0 run to cut it to 51-47, including a 3-pointer by junior Autumn Grandberry with 1:29 to play.
But a string of turnovers and untimely fouls by the Rams let Grand Valley take control again, closing out with a 10-2 run to win it.
Cardinal senior Rocio Roman scored 11 points on the night, while junior Lauren Paskett had nine.
For the Rams, Hattie Gianinetti led the way with 13 points, while Megan Gianinetti had 12 and Grandberry came off the bench to score 11.
Grand Valley also played fairly even with the much larger Rams on the boards. Roaring Fork had 23 rebounds to the Cardinals’ 20.
Roaring Fork drops to 7-6 overall and 7-3 in the league, and has a big game against league-leading Olathe today at 2:30 p.m. in Carbondale.
Grand Valley is off until next Friday when they, too, host Olathe.
In the boys game, what was a 20-point lead for host Roaring Fork at the start of the fourth quarter got whittled to 10 points, 46-36, by Grand Valley with under 3 minutes to play.
But the Rams held on for the 53-40 win to stay in control of the 3A WSL, improving to 11-2 overall and 10-0 against league teams.
The Cardinals, coming off an emotional double-overtime loss to Aspen in Parachute earlier in the week, had a hard time keeping up with the Rams’ fast-paced attack and the tough physical presence of senior Trae Moxley underneath.
The Rams opened a 29-17 halftime lead, and led 42-24 after three periods of play.
Moxley had 16 points for the Rams, followed by senior Dakotah Grett with 12 and sophomore Ben Carpenter with 10.
The Cardinals (1-13, 1-10) were paced by sophomore Sam Parker’s 16 points, while senior Wyatt Hurst had 10.
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Burning Mountain Park in New Castle will illuminate Saturday evening at the town’s Holiday Tree Lighting and Chili Cook-off between 5 and 7 p.m.