A win this weekend would send Grand Valley girls to state
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
PARACHUTE ” Grand Valley’s girls basketball team stands on the precipice of realizing its preseason goal: getting back to Pueblo and the 2A state tournament.
A West Regional win over Mancos in Grand Junction on Saturday would punch their ticket.
The 16-4 Cardinals are eyeing their first trip to the state tourney in two years after bowing out last season in districts.
Led by Rifle High transfer Kendall Babler and her 16.5 points per game, Lauren Schubert (12.2 ppg) and a solid supporting cast, Grand Valley carved out quite the regular season, handily winning the Class 2A Western Slope League, before losing to Plateau Valley, 62-57, in the semifinals of the District 5 tournament last weekend.
Luckily, that league title shored up an automatic regional berth.
And so the Cardinals prepare to face the 15-6 Bluejays, who cruised to a District 3 title last weekend, beating Dolores, 55-35, in the final and outscoring opponents by an average of 34.3 points in the three-round tourney.
Grand Valley and Mancos did have one common quality regular-season opponent in Class 1A regional qualifier Dove Creek. While the Cardinals soundly defeated Dove Creek (71-51), two of the Bluejays’ six setbacks came at the hands of the Bulldogs.
Still, playing for its first state tourney appearance since 2002 will no doubt have Mancos fired up.
Grand Valley, though, has viewed a state appearance as critical from the season’s start. Restoring luster to a program that showed its face at the state tournament in 2005 and 2006 and that, before last season, had made the regional round five straight years, has been the Cardinals’ aim all season.
On Saturday, they’ll have their shot to prove Pueblo is where they belong ” at least for one big weekend in March.
“Last year we hope was more of a hiccup,” Grand Valley coach Mike Johnson said before the 2007-08 season. “We had gone five years at regionals before that. The girls feel we should be right back there.”
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