Titans taken down by Cardinals
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
PARACHUTE, Colorado – A big fourth-quarter offensive push for the Grand Valley High School boys basketball team turned into a huge victory for the Cardinals on Friday.
Trevor Smith finished with a game-high 23 points – with six 3-point field goals – and 10 rebounds, and Grand Valley took a two-game lead in the Class 3A Western Slope League standings thanks to a 66-44 victory over Coal Ridge at The Nest.
“With how close this league is, you can go from the top to the middle to the bottom in a real hurry with one slip-up,” Grand Valley coach Jake Higuera said.
The win was huge for the Cardinals (12-3 overall, 7-2 in the 3A WSL), who gained a two-game lead in the 3A WSL’s South division standings thanks to losses by second-place teams Gunnison (78-61, to Rifle) and Olathe (59-52, to Aspen). But it turned out to be just as huge on the other end for Coal Ridge (9-7, 6-4). The Titans lost ground in the league’s North division thanks to Rifle’s victory.
A lot of that was thanks to Smith, who hit three of his four first-half 3s in the first quarter to give the Cardinals a lead they’d never relinquish. And when the Titans made an attempt to get back into the game late, Grand Valley’s running and transition game helped the Cardinals keep their distance.
“We really came together as a team and pushed the ball real well,” said Smith, who finished 6-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc. “For a while there it seemed like we couldn’t miss.”
Of course, Smith’s outing came as no surprise to his coach.
“That’s the kind of thing we expect from him every night,” Higuera said. “There’s some nights where he starts off cold and other nights where he’s just plain frozen. But tonight he got off to a great start, and the rest of us followed suit as the game went on.”
Nathan Terrin scored 21 points with 12 rebounds to pace the Titans, who were limited to 17-of-59 shooting (29 percent). Coal Ridge trailed 26-20 at halftime and pulled to within four right after the break, but that’s when the Cardinals started to pull away.
After Terrin’s layup brought the Titans within four, a fastbreak layup from Omar Melendrez, coupled with 3s from Smith and Dylan Walters, pushed the Cardinals’ lead to 34-23.
The Titans rallied again and pulled within 42-34 on a layup from Brandon Bates to begin the fourth stanza, but Grand Valley answered with a 19-4 run over the next six minutes to essentially put the game out of reach.
Walters also had eight points and a game-high 16 rebounds for the Cardinals, who were outrebounded 41-35.
Melendrez added 12 points, Bubby Beecraft chipped in 10 for Grand Valley and Tyler Guettler chipped in 10 for the Titans.
Grand Valley’s defense stepped up big in the second half, holding the Titans to just a pair of fild goals through the first 15 minutes of the second half to pick up a key Class 3A WSL victory.
The Cardinals used a 9-3 run at the start of the fourth quarter, capped by a 3-pointer by to snap a 21-all tie at the start of the fourth quarter and take the lead for good.
Field goals by Ashlie Bowles and Cassie Blackard brought the Titans within 30-26 with 28.7 seconds left.
Ashlie Bowles scored a game-high 10 points to pace Coal Ridge (11-5, 7-3), who held a 19-14 lead at halftime.
The Cardinals (6-9, 6-3) got a team-high eight points from Amelia Sudick, who hit two of Grand Valley’s four 3s.
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