Titan boys hold off Cardinals for win
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
PEACH VALLEY, Colorado – Paul Harvey knew Grand Valley had too much firepower to sit dormant for much longer. The Coal Ridge boys basketball coach was right.
Harvey and the Titans had to weather a furious rally in the final quarter to escape with a 57-49 win over the visiting Cardinals on Friday.
Coal Ridge were up by as many as 20 points in the first half. The Titans led 18-10 after a quarter, 33-15 at halftime and 48-31 after three.
Behind a rash of 3-pointers, three from junior lefty Trent Reidle and one apiece from seniors Chris McGruder and Trever Smith, Grand Valley stormed its way back into the game in the fourth quarter.
The Cardinals pulled to within three (52-49) with 1 minute, 58 seconds remaining, but that’s as close as they would get.
Coal Ridge took care of the rest at the line, hitting 5 of 8 free throws in the final 1:30 to stiff-arm the Grand Valley rally.
Harvey knew the Cardinals would eventually find their offensive rhythm.
“We knew they were too good of shooters,” the fourth-year Coal Ridge boys basketball coach said. “I knew they were going to make a run. We aided it by taking some ill-advised 3s.”
The Titans were making virtually every shot they hoisted up in the first half, connecting at a 13-for-25 clip. Six of those 13 field goals were 3-pointers.
“They can do that,” Grand Valley coach Jake Higuera said. “They can come out and be lights out. We know that, but we went into the locker room and I believed we could come back. We did. We fought hard.”
Darik Brown led Coal Ridge, which improved to 6-10 overall and to 5-5 in the 3A Western Slope League, with 16 points. McCade Cox added 14 points and seven rebounds. He hit three 3-pointers in the first half.
Tyler Guettler finished with nine points and nine rebounds for the Titans, who have been playing a better brand of basketball since an internal incident led to several players having to sit a portion of last Friday’s game against visiting Olathe.
“The next day we started playing well together,” Brown said. “We came together like brothers, like a family.”
Reidle led Grand Valley with 15 points and 11 boards. Eddie Pena added 11 points, Tyler Scott 10 and McGruder seven for the Cardinals, who dropped to 9-6 overall and to 5-4 in league play.
Grand Valley defeated Coal Ridge, 50-47, in Parachute back on Jan. 10.
Coal Ridge girls win, too
In what coach Rick Schmitz dubbed his team’s best shooting performance of the season, Coal Ridge’s girls recorded a 52-44 win over Grand Valley on Friday.
“It was good,” Schmitz said. “We needed it. Grand Valley is so tough, so well coached.”
After taking a 23-19 lead into halftime, the Titans opened the third quarter on a 12-2 run to build a 14-point cushion.
And they needed it.
The Cardinals rallied in the fourth, pulling to within six (50-44) with 33.1 seconds left. They just ran out of time to fully close the gap.
“We kept fighting,” Grand Valley coach Mike Johnson said. “We got right back into it. If we just could have locked up defensively a little bit, we would have been OK.”
Amanda Wenzel led Coal Ridge, now 9-7 overall and 6-4 in the 3A WSL, with 14 points. She sunk three 3-pointers on the night. Paige Ryan added 12 points and 11 rebounds and Cassie Blackard and Allie Ehlers finished with seven points apiece.
Rocio Roman’s 19 points led the Cardinals, who fell to 7-8 overall and to 4-5 in league play. Kristen Schubert and Ashlynn Speakman each finished with six points.
Coal Ridge’s teams are off until a Tuesday trip to Rifle, while Grand Valley travels to Hotchkiss this afternoon for games at 4 p.m. (girls) and 5:30 p.m. (boys).
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