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Surprising run sends Coal Ridge to regionals

Post Independent staff report
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

PALISADE, Colorado – Playing four games in six days, Coal Ridge’s boys basketball team pulled off the improbable.

With a 55-54 win over Gunnison in the 3A Western Slope League district tournament’s fifth-place game on Saturday, the Titans are headed to the regional round of the Class 3A playoffs.

When the district fun started on Monday, prospects looked bleak for Coal Ridge, which entered the nine-team tourney with the ninth seed.



The Titans had to win a play-in game at Cedaredge on Monday. They then faced Aspen, the league champion and No. 1 seed, on Wednesday, giving the Skiers a run for their money before falling, 63-44. Coal Ridge came back on Thursday to beat Roaring Fork and earn a spot in Saturday’s fifth-place game, which amounts to a showdown for the tournament’s final regional playoff berth.

“We’ll probably have the lowest record in regionals, but we’re definitely happy to be playing another week,” Titans coach Paul Harvey said. “We think we have a good opportunity.”



Andy Smedra scored 18 points and Darik Brown finished with 11 to lead Coal Ridge (7-16) past Gunnison. Tyler Guettler, Rafael Fabela and Nathan Terrin scored eight points apiece.

Brown hit a pair of clutch free throws with nine seconds left to give the Titans a four-point lead.

The Cowboys responded with a 3-pointer at the last second, tightening the final count.

Coal Ridge, and everyone else still standing in Class 3A, will find out what’s next when the Colorado High School Activities Association releases its 32-team boys and girls playoff brackets this afternoon.

Basalt’s boys topped Grand Valley, 45-42, in Saturday’s third-place game at Palisade.

The Longhorns improved to 10-12 with the win, while the Cardinals fell to 12-10.

Tyler Radel scored 16 points to lead Grand Valley. Bubby Beecraft chipped in with 15.

Coal Ridge’s girls fell short in Saturday’s third-place game, losing to Hotchkiss by a count of 48-44.

Tori Verdieck scored nine points, grabbed nine rebounds and had four blocks to pace the Titans, who dropped to 11-11. Brianna Rhodes scored nine points and Ashlie Bowles had eight. Carly Cloninger scored seven.

Olathe’s girls held off Grand Valley, 44-41, in Saturday’s 3A WSL district tournament title game.

The Pirates improved to 22-0 with the win, while the Cardinals dipped to 18-4.


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