Shots finally fall for Grand Valley
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
PARACHUTE, Colorado – Points haven’t been easy to come by for Grand Valley’s boys basketball team this season.
As such, Tuesday night’s 65-32 non-league win over visiting Rangely proved to be a cathartic experience for Jake Higuera, the Cardinals’ first-year head coach.
“We’ve struggled so bad offensively for the past, well, since Christmas,” he said. “It was nice to come out and shoot the ball and take care of it, most importantly.”
Higuera’s squad, which hadn’t topped 50 points in a game since a Dec. 18 win at Basalt and was averaging 43.5 points a contest entering Tuesday, had little problem finding the net against the visiting Panthers.
Getting 16 points from Tyler Radel, 10 from Jeremy Lawrence and nine from Bubby Beecraft and eight from Matt Donello, the Cardinals jumped on Rangely early and never relented in posting a season-high point total.
Radel scored nine of his points in the first quarter, helping Grand Valley to a 16-6 lead after one. The senior guard added five more in the second quarter as the hosts took a 33-10 lead into the break.
Like his coach, Radel welcomed the offensive outburst.
“We just can’t really ever get anything going,” he said. “It’s always a defensive battle. Tonight, we finally came out and put points on the board.”
Many of those points came courtesy of the Cardinals’ defense, which produced a number of turnovers by jumping passing lanes and then converting layups on the other end.
Radel and speedy teammate Omar Melendrez were the chief defensive catalysts.
“Omar is probably the fastest kid I’ve ever seen in my life,” Higuera said. “We really emphasize defense. We really studied these guys hard to watch what they did. It was kind of a good opportunity to use our speed with Tyler Radel and Omar. Matt Donello has really nice hands, too.
“That’s what we do is defense. Then hopefully the ball falls into the hole. They both worked out.”
On deck for the Cardinals is a Friday trip to Hotchkiss. They’ll face Cedaredge on their home court on Saturday.
“I told the guys that this [win] doesn’t mean anything,” said Higuera, whose team improved to 7-7 overall. “We still have to be hungrier than we’ve ever been. We have two wars going into this weekend.”
Rangely, which got a game-high 17 points from Patrick Phelan, dropped to 7-9 overall.
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