3A WSL girls: Titans’ big rally earns win in district 3rd-place game
GRAND JUNCTION — Coal Ridge High School’s girls basketball team made sure a similar poor start against the Grand Valley Cardinals didn’t result in a similar final result on Saturday.
Courtnay Young finished with a game-high 16 points to go with a 12-point performance from Mariela Martinez, and the Titans rallied from an early double-digit deficit for a 48-42 victory over the Cardinals in the third place game of the Class 3A Western Slope League District Tournament at Grand Junction Central High School.
“It was like de ja vou from the first time we played them,” said first-year Coal Ridge coach Steve Young, whose team trailed 13-0 during the Cardinals 61-44 victory over the Titans on Jan. 10 in Peach Valley. “At that point, I just told the girls to just settle down, play Coal Ridge basketball and clamp down defensively.”
It worked, as the Titans (11-11 overall), who trailed 11-0 at the beginning of this game, snapped a four-game losing streak to Grand Valley dating back to 2013. And with that, they will also likely earn a better first-round regional matchup when the Colorado High School Activities Association today announces its regional pairings for the Class 3A state tournament.
“If anything, we just wanted to win so we wouldn’t have to travel so far for the first round,” Young said.
Kyrie Foreman added 10 points and Jenny Call chipped in eight for the Titans, who were held scoreless for the first 7 minutes and 59 seconds of the game. That’s when Martinez, darting up the court after a jumper from Giulia Hall, hit a line-drive 3-pointer from 40 feet away at the buzzer to spark the Titans’ offense.
“That shot kind of got things going for us,” Young said.
The Cardinals (13-9) also got a game-high 16 points from Bailey Rowe and nine from Kyra Chenoweth. Also playing was Kylyn Rigsby, who saw her first action since an ankle injury on Feb. 13 against Aspen when she suffered a severe ankle injury.
Grand Valley was without Chenoweth, the team’s leading scorer, for the entire fourth quarter when she fouled out with 35 seconds remaining in the third quarter after she was called for a player-control foul.
“She had to stay on the floor, and it’s her job to stay on the floor,” said Grand Valley coach Jake Higuera, whose team has played with six full-time varsity players for much of the season. “We couldn’t play Kylyn too much tonight, and the other girls aren’t ready yet. There was nothing else we could do.”
Rowe stepped up big for the Cardinals at the start of the fourth, as her fast-break layup and 3-pointer to open the stanza gave Grand Valley a 37-34 lead. And after a jumper from Coal Ridge’s Kaitlyn Detlefsen with five minutes left, the Cardinals didn’t allow a field goal for the rest of the game.
So instead, Coal Ridge won the game on foul shots. They made nine of their next 10 foul shots, with the final one from Call staking the Titans to a 45-38 lead with 32.9 seconds left.
Rowe had three of the Cardinals’ five 3-pointers. Allie Dovey added seven points for Grand Valley.
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Local teams just missed out on qualifying for state as teams but will be sending individual representatives following Friday’s regional meets.