3A District tournament: Grand Valley girls fall short in title game, 43-37

Grand Valley High School sophomore guard Bailey Radel drained a 3-pointer as the clock ticked within 2 minutes of the 3A girls Western Slope District tournament final in Grand Junction Saturday to pull within two points, 39-37, of top-seeded Delta.

But the Panthers held on down the stretch and made their free throws to claim the title with a 43-37 win.

Radel’s trey capped a comeback effort for the Lady Cardinals on an exciting day at Grand Junction Central High School. The girls championship game got a late start after the third-place boys game between Roaring Fork and Delta went into overtime, with the Panthers prevailing, 61-56.

Grand Valley was down 10 points with 4 minutes left to play before mounting a charge at the Western Slope League champion Lady Panthers. Senior Taygann Schoeppner got the steal with 13 seconds to play and could have tied it with a pair of free throws after she was fouled. She missed both.

“We all just missed too many free throws all game,” coach Isaac Pittman said after the loss. “They got down several times and just could not get the lead. Delta is a great team, and I was very proud of the girls for giving it all their hearts today.”

Schoeppner led the team with 16 points and Jordyn Pittman contributed eight, as the Cardinals fell to 16-6 overall headed into the 3A Regionals.

In the boys championship game, No. 1 Gunnison took care of business against No. 7 Aspen, taking the District title with a 79-49 win over the Skiers.

Rams teams finish fourth

Playing in the consolation games Saturday morning, Carbondale’s Roaring Fork High School boys and girls both ended up settling for fourth, losing the third-place games to Delta and Cedaredge, respectively.

Roaring Fork’s boys took the Panthers, seeded fifth in the District tournament, to overtime, before succumbing 61-56.

The No. 6 Rams (6-16) built a 20-13 lead after the first period of play, and held steady through the second to take a 31-23 lead into the locker room at the half.

After falling behind in the second half, the Rams tied it with a 3-pointer from senior Frankie Harrington to knot it at 50-all at the end of regulation. It took almost 2 minutes in OT for either team to score, but Delta got it going from that point on to outscore Roaring Fork 11-6 in the extra 5-minute frame.

Rams junior Alex Jaquez led the Rams and all scorers in the game with 25 points, and fellow junior Graham Pietch had 13.

On the girls side, the No. 2 Lady Bruins of Cedaredge jumped out to a 13-3 lead after the first 8 minutes of play, and kept the defensive pressure on No. 4 Roaring Fork to claim the 39-16 win and improve their lot as seedings for the 32-team 3A Regionals are to be announced on Sunday.

Teams that did not finish in the top two of their district tournaments will have to rely on their RPI power ranking to continue their seasons. On the girls side, Coal Ridge and Roaring Fork are likely to join Grand Valley in a continued postseason bid.

For the boys, Coal Ridge is expected to be in the mix, while Grand Valley is on the bubble as the No. 32 team, and Roaring Fork has most likely concluded its season with a 6-16 mark and a ranking outside the top 32.

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