Basalt, Coal Ridge boys basketball teams roll to district finals; Grand Valley girls win after second-half comeback
GRAND JUNCTION — Basalt junior guard Justin Henderson had a game — and fourth quarter — to remember Friday evening at Grand Junction Central High School, coming up large in the final eight minutes of the game to lead the Longhorns to a 49-42 win over the Roaring Fork Rams in the semifinals of the 3A district tournament.
Henderson, who finished with 19 points in the win, scored 10 points in the final quarter, including seven points in the final two minutes of the fourth to help Basalt pull away from Roaring Fork in a close game.
The junior guard hit a three-pointer with just over two minutes in the quarter to give the Longhorns a 41-39 lead, stopping a quick 6-0 Rams run. Clinging to the two-point lead, Henderson came up with a big steal with under a minute to go, racing in for a layup to stretch the Basalt lead to 45-39 before then hitting a pair of free throws to seal the win.
Prior to Henderson’s fourth quarter heroics it appeared as though the No. 3 seed Rams were going to pull off the upset as Roaring Fork was able to take a 39-38 lead off of a putback layup from senior forward Justin Thompson and a pair of free throws by senior guard Aldo Pinela. But the Rams ran out of gas down the stretch, leading to two key late turnovers, giving the Longhorns the win in a thrilling semifinal matchup.
Basalt and Roaring Fork would battle to a 14-14 first quarter tie as Thompson and Basalt senior Michael Glen would trade buckets, scoring six points each in the opening quarter, but the Longhorns would pull away in the second quarter to take a 21-16 lead at the half.
Coming out of the break, the Longhorns would extend their lead to nine points, but the resilient Rams would respond in a big way as senior guard Lorenzo Andrade splashed home a three-pointer to pull within two, 28-26, late in the quarter before senior guard Jassiel Petetan came up with a steal and a layup to tie the game at 28-all.
But Glen would come up with a big buzzer-beating midrange jumper to end the third, giving the Longhorns a slight 30-28 lead heading into the final quarter of play, where Henderson would catch fire.
In the win, Glen led the way with 20 points, while Henderson added 19 points. The Longhorns will take on Coal Ridge in the championship game at 2:30 p.m. today.
For Roaring Fork, the Rams came up excruciatingly short despite getting 11 points from Petetan and 10 points from Thompson.
The Rams now await their seeding in the 3A state playoff bracket, which will be released Sunday afternoon.
GRAND VALLEY 48, OLATHE 38
For roughly 20 minutes of Friday night’s semifinal matchup between the Grand Valley Cardinals girls basketball team and the Olathe Pirates, it looked as though the top-seeded Cardinals would be knocked off by the underdog Pirates, but an incredible second-half comeback, fueled by senior standout Kylyn Rigsby, propelled the Cardinals to a thrilling win at Grand Junction Central High School, putting the Cardinals in the district tournament championship game today against the No. 2 seed Moffat County Bulldogs.
Trailing 22-13 at the half, the Cardinals looked out of sorts at both ends of the floor, looking much less than the 3A Western Slope League regular season (and undefeated) champions they were coming into the game.
Olathe would take its largest lead of the game at 33-20 at the 4:07 mark of the third quarter, forcing a timeout by the Cardinals. From there, it was all Grand Valley as the Pirates would score just five points the rest of the game while Rigsby and sophomore guard Shaya Chenoweth caught fire for the Cardinals.
Rigsby, who eclipsed 1,000 career points earlier in the tournament, scored 14 of her game-high 24 points in the second half, fueling the impressive comeback.
In the third quarter alone Rigsby went on 6-0 run by herself, which happened to be in the middle of Grand Valley’s 13-0 run to close the quarter.
Rigsby’s big second half was part of a 35-point second half for the Cardinals, who outscored the Pirates 35-16 in the second half to pick up the 10-point win.
Along with Rigsby’s 24 points, Chenoweth finished with 13 points, while senior forward Bailey Rowe added six points.
COAL RIDGE 70, DELTA 47
For the second straight season, the Coal Ridge Titans boys basketball team clinched a spot in the 3A Western Slope League district tournament at Grand Junction Central High School.
Taking on the Delta Panthers on Friday night, the Titans came out on fire offensively, racing out to a 22-8 lead after one quarter of play thanks to some stellar shooting from junior point guard Brandon Herrera. He started the scoring with a driving layup before then hitting two big three-pointers from well beyond the arc to pace the Coal Ridge attack in the first quarter.
Holding a 14-point lead after eight minutes of play, the Titans didn’t let up in the second quarter as Herrera would hit 3 three-pointers in the quarter while backcourt mate Jan Hernandez would also hit a three-pointer and a driving layup, giving the Titans a 44-21 lead at the half.
Sitting just 16 minutes of action away from a second straight trip to the district tournament finals, Coal Ridge relied heavily on sophomore center Kevin DiMarco and senior forward Hunter Gerber to close out the win in the semifinals. DiMarco and Gerber combined for 12 points in the second half while junior guard Aaron Arreola hit a jumper from just inside the arc to cap off the scoring for the dynamic Titan attack.
In the win, Herrera finished with 22 points, hitting six three-pointers. Gerber added 17 points, while DiMarco added 12 points for the Titans.
Coal Ridge, which topped Basalt during the regular season on Feb. 7, 58-52, will match up with the Longhorns today in the tournament championship.
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