Cardinal boys down De Beque |

Cardinal boys down De Beque

PARACHUTE – Rivalry games, especially in basketball, seem to draw out unusual tendencies in teams.

That was the first thing Grand Valley boys’ coach Scott Kiburis mentioned while explaining the Cardinals 77-71 nonleague win over De Beque Thursday night.

“We’re really a defensive team. Our goal is to keep a team under 55 points,” he said.

The Class 1A De Beque Dragons had scored that many by the start of the fourth quarter, but it didn’t matter.

The Class 2A Cardinals, who raised their record to 8-7, were just as offensive-minded as their opponents.

De Beque, who had trailed by as many as 12 points in the second half, folded when Grand Valley hit on 5-of-10 field goals in the game’s final eight minutes.

Jason Conklin’s trey with 2 minutes, 56 seconds left, gave the Cardinals a seven-point lead and some comfort after seeing the Dragons close within four points when Jason Graham drained the last of four 3-pointers he’d score in the game with 4:02 remaining.

Conklin’s bucket, his last of a game-high 21-point points, put Grand Valley up by seven, and, with the exception of Forest Matis’ bucket in the last minute, the Cardinal lead never dipped below six.

“It’s fun to play them again,” Kiburis said. “We haven’t played them in the three years I’ve been here and we wanted to play them, because we play them in the summer and both teams get up for it.”

The intensity both teams brought to the floor reflected in the scoring totals.

Both squads exchanged the lead four times before dueling to a 21-all tie to end the first quarter.

Justin Conklin pulled the Cardinals out to a 21-16 lead with 1:09 left until De Beque responded by scoring the quarter’s final five points on a Matt Pfalzgraff deuce followed by Jason Graham’s trey just before the period ended.

The Cardinals pulled back out to five when De Beque missed seven straight field goal attempts, but managed to whittle the margin down to one after Graham hit another 3-pointer with 20 seconds left in the half.

After turning the ball over on the ensuing procession, Grand Valley took a 39-36 lead at the buzzer when Brundle converted a Dragon turnover into a score.

Early foul trouble saddled Jason and Justin Conklin to the bench for most of the third quarter. The move forced Kiburis to insert Jose Lopez.

And the junior transfer student responded by hitting four straight baskets for 10 points of a 12-0 Cardinal run which produced the Cardinals biggest of the contest with 3:17 left in the period.

“Jose has only played with us a couple of months, and he came up big with those 10 points,” Kiburis said.

De Beque was not impressed.

The Dragons, thanks to another Graham bomb, got within nine points of Grand Valley by the end of the third. Pfalzgraff, who led De Beque with 17 points, led an early fourth-quarter charge which got the Dragons within five before center Chris Johnson’s field goal restored order.

“The fact that we played De Beque rather than someone else in a nonleague game late in the season was good for us,” Kiburis said. “This gives us confidence heading into the rest of our league games.”

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