Grand Valley hoops teams post successful seasons
Citizen Telegram Sports Editor
First year Grand Valley High girls basketball coach Jake Higuera wasn’t as upset about the Cardinals’ season ending as he was about something else following their loss to the St. Mary’s Pirates of Colorado Springs.
“It actually makes me really sad that I have to go home after I get off of work now,” Higuera said following Grand Valley’s 39-37 season-ending loss in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament on March 6. “This group of girls is such a great group to be around and work with. I’m really going to miss being able to coach them.”
Grand Valley’s girls hoops team wasn’t the only team from Parachute that saw its season end. The Grand Valley boys also saw their season come to a close following a 52-44 loss to seventh-seeded Alamosa in the 3A state tournament’s second round.
It’s the second consecutive year that Grand Valley’s boys and girls basketball teams have reached the state tournament, and also the second straight year that at least one of them has reached the second round.
The Grand Valley girls never had a full squad throughout the season, at one point playing with just six full-time varsity players. The full-time players they did have, however, made a huge difference: Their 46.1 points-per-game average ranked them 20th in Class 3A. Senior Kyra Chenoweth made the biggest impact in scoring, as her 18.4-point average ranked her fourth in the classification.
Grand Valley’s boys, who posted an 81-70 first-round victory against Manitou Springs, was one of the highest-scoring teams in Class 3A despite a lack of size. Grand Valley, despite that loss to Alamosa, finished the season averaging 69.5 points per game, which ranked No. 1 in Class 3A headed into the Great 8 round of the 3A state tournament in Golden, which begins today and runs through Saturday. What’s more, senior Sam Parker finished averaging 22.4 points per game, which ranked second in 3A behind Colorado Academy’s Justin Bassey headed into the weekend.
Should Bassey’s scoring average drop during state-tournament play in Golden, Parker could lead the classification in scoring for the second consecutive season.
Coach Scott Parker said Sam has been considering attending college at either Division II Western State in Gunnison or Otero Junior College in La Junta, and he’d be able to play college basketball at either school.
Meanwhile, the Grand Valley boys, who finished the season 18-6, graduate three seniors in Leon Hernandez, Sam Parker and Tyler Matthews. They bring a slew of players back, however, including junior guard John Parker (16.4 points per game), junior forward Tanner Magee, and sophomore guard Gunner Rigsby. Grand Valley’s roster is primarily young, and the team is slated to return five players who are underclassmen on this year’s team.
“I think we made a lot of progress this year, and we did have a great season,” coach Parker said. “Hopefully if things pan out right, we’ll still be talking about basketball a week later.”
Grand Valley’s girls will lose Chenoweth, Jordan Scott and Giulia Hock to graduation but have a solid corps of players returning, including junior Allie Dovey, sophomore guard Kylyn Rigsby and sophomore Bailey Rowe. The Cardinals finished the season with a 13-10 overall record.
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