Cardinals sink Pirates in return from winter break
If there was any concern for rust coming off of a three-week break for the holidays, the Grand Valley Cardinals’ boys and girls basketball teams quickly put that concern to rest Friday night in ‘The Nest’ at Grand Valley High School in Parachute, simply dominating the visiting Olathe Pirates in nonconference action against a 3A Western Slope League foe.
The Cardinal girls came out red-hot to start the game, soaring out to a 16-5 lead after one quarter of play, thanks to some spectacular buckets from standout junior guard Shaya Chenoweth, who poured in 10 first-quarter points to pace Grand Valley.
Chenoweth went baseline to baseline for her first two baskets of the game — the second one coming off of a terrific feed from sophomore guard Jordyn Pittman to a cutting Chenoweth — before the senior dialed in from 3-point range. She splashed a turnaround 3-pointer at the first-quarter buzzer to send the home crowd into a frenzy with the Cardinals holding an 11-point lead after eight minutes of play.
Chenoweth stayed hot to start the second quarter, hitting a layup in transition and sinking two free throws before giving way to Pittman offensively. The sophomore pulled up from the free throw line for a mid-range jumper to make it 22-7 Cardinals before then adding a 3-pointer of her own to make it 25-9 midway through the second quarter of play.
After Pittman caught fire offensively, Chenoweth closed the quarter going 3 for 4 from the free throw line to send the Cardinals into the break with a resounding 28-11 lead over the visiting Pirates, who couldn’t seem to crack the Grand Valley defense, let alone hit a shot in the first half.
Coming out of the break after an exciting first half of basketball, Chenoweth got the scoring started again, hitting a layup through contact before sinking the free throw to stretch the Cardinals’ lead to 31-11 early in the third quarter of play.
Olathe’s Bailey Harris hit a jumper in the lane to start the scoring for the Pirates, but Grand Valley embarked on a 13-0 run following Harris’ bucket to put the game well out of reach. Freshman Tabitha Call and Pittman drilled 3-pointers, while Chenoweth hit three straight layups to make it 44-13 Grand Valley late in the third quarter of play.
Pirate senior Shaylee Hancock stopped the bleeding for Olathe with a jumper to make it 44-15, but a Call 3-pointer just before the buzzer sent the Cardinals into the fourth quarter of play with a 47-15 lead over their 3A Western Slope League foe.
Holding a 32-point lead heading into the final quarter of play, the Cardinals turned to their bench to close out the game, leaving just two starters — sisters Tabitha and Danielle Call — on the court. Tabitha Call hit a runner to start the fourth quarter before sophomore Kirstin Medina stole the ball from an Olathe player and raced the length of the court for a layup to put Grand Valley in front 51-19 midway through the fourth.
Danielle Call then splashed home a 3-pointer before Olathe closed the game on a 5-0 run behind Hancock’s two layups and a free throw, closing out the 53-24 win for the Cardinals, who improve to 5-2 on the season.
Chenoweth led the way with 27 points for the Cardinals, while Pittman and Tabitha Call added 12 and 10 points, respectively. Grand Valley will travel to Moffat County this afternoon for a 3A WSL matchup.
GRAND VALLEY 88, OLATHE 51
Much like the Grand Valley girls dispatched the Olathe Pirates quickly, so too did the Cardinal boys, who dropped 24 first-quarter points to pull away from the Pirates quickly, leading to an eventual 88-51 win in nonconference action inside ‘The Nest’ in Parachute.
Three weeks off from game action can be a long time for high school teams, but the Cardinal boys sure looked like they didn’t miss a beat, opening the game with a 15-2 run to stun the Pirates.
Senior point guard Kade Hurst started the scoring with a driving layup through traffic before senior Brenden Hagerty followed up with a layup of his own. Senior forward Garett Magee then drilled a 3-pointer from the wing before senior guard Jeff Holbrook pulled up from the free throw line to sink a mid-range jumper, giving Grand Valley a 9-2 lead quickly.
Holbrook then added two free throws on the next offensive trip for the Cardinals before junior forward Indra Griggs hit a floater in traffic to make it 13-2. Griggs then capped off the opening run with a backdoor cut off an assist from Hurst to force an Olathe timeout, firing up the home crowd.
Following the quick stoppage, Olathe hit a jumper to make it 15-4, but Hurst split a pair of free throws before Griggs hit a reverse layup, making it 18-4 Cardinals. Magee then closed the quarter with three straight buckets, giving the Cardinals a seemingly insurmountable 24-11 lead after one quarter of play.
Grand Valley didn’t slow up in the second quarter either, as Hagerty and Hurst hit tough shots in the paint, while Olathe junior Jorge Gonzalez tried to keep the Pirates in the game with a pair of 3-pointers. Following Gonzalez’s second 3-pointer of the quarter, Grand Valley went on a 16-0 run as Magee drilled another 3-pointer, while Griggs and Hurst hit two tough shots each in traffic, giving Grand Valley a 44-19 lead midway through the second quarter.
Gonzalez responded with a 3-pointer to stop the Cardinal run briefly, but Griggs answered with two free throws before Hagerty hit a 3-pointer of his own and put a Griggs miss back up for a bucket with seconds remaining in the quarter, sending Grand Valley into the half with a 51-24 lead.
“I’m really proud of our kids the way they came out, especially defensively,” Grand Valley Head Coach Scott Parker said. “We had defensive intensity and had really good spacing offensively. The boys knocked down shots and played well together as a team moving the ball.”
After a quick halftime break, the Cardinals stayed red-hot in the third, pouring in 24 points to put the game well out of reach as Hurst and Hagerty scored 8 and 5 points in the quarter, respectively, allowing Grand Valley to cruise to the lopsided win.
Hagerty provided the energy at the defensive end all night for the Cardinals and was rewarded offensively, leading the way with 21 points for Grand Valley. Hurst added 20 points, while Magee and Griggs added 17 and 14 points, respectively.
“Brenden, he just doesn’t waste a minute when he’s out on the floor,” Parker said. “Every possession matters to him, offensively and defensively. That focus on the floor rubs off on the rest of the team and they definitely feed off of that and try and match his intensity and focus.”
With the 37-point win, Grand Valley — which came into the game ranked in the top 5 in 3A in the state of Colorado — improves to 7-0 on the season. The Cardinals travel to Moffat County today for a 3A WSL matchup.
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The Coal Ridge High boys suffered their first 3A Western Slope League loss of the year Thursday night on the road at Gunnison, falling to the defending league champion Cowboys 65-45.