Cardinals soar to 2A district final four |

Cardinals soar to 2A district final four

PARACHUTE ” Scott Kiburis was pleased and surprised about the 62-43 win Grand Valley earned Saturday against West Grand in the first round of the boys District 5 basketball tournament.

The Grand Valley High School coach expected the second-seeded Cardinals to win. What shocked the fourth-year coach was the margin of victory his team racked up on the No. 7-seeded Mustangs.

“It felt good,” Kiburis said of the 19-point win. “We’ve had so many close games in the last month we haven’t had a game where it was decided by more than five points.”

“It was nice to take a (big) lead. It made me a little more comfortable and it made the kids feel comfortable, because they were nervous coming out.”

Any frets the Cardinals had entering Saturday’s playoff contest were gone by the second quarter.

After taking a five-point lead in the first quarter, Grand Valley widened the distance to 30-16 at halftime by outscoring the Mustangs 17-8 in the second period.

Four players hit field goals in an 8-0 run midway in the second quarter to boost the Cardinals’ tiny six-point lead to 28-14.

From then on, it was smooth sailing.

West Grand played even with Grand Valley in the third period, but failed to get any closer to the Cardinals than 14 points down the rest of the way.

A balanced scoring attack lifted Grand Valley to its seventh straight win in a row and a district semifinal showdown with Paonia this Friday.

Three starters ” Sam McKinley, Chris Johnson and Colin Lauman ” plus sub Justin Tindall all scored in double figures.

McKinley had a game-high 13 points. Tindall added 12 from the bench. Johnson and Lauman scored 11 points each.

Kiburis said Johnson and Lauman’s work on the defensive end played a key role in the win.

“Early on, they did a great job controlling the boards,” the coach said. “It’s nice to have two big guys in there. The difference in this game from the first time we played them was the first time (West Grand) got a lot of second and third shots.”

Johnson, who finished with a double-double, had 11 rebounds. Layman was right behind with nine. As a team, Grand Valley pulled down 45 rebounds to West Grand’s 30.

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