Cardinals sprint into 3A semis with emphatic wins
It’s no secret that Grand Valley’s Kylyn Rigsby is one of the best players in all of 3A in the state of Colorado.
She possesses a nice combination of speed, court vision, shooting range from all over the court and good height, making her a serious threat on the court. Tuesday night against Roaring Fork in the opening game of the 3A Western Slope League district tournament was no different.
Rigsby slashed, passed, rebounded and shot her way to a 24-point night, leading the Cardinals to a 42-23 win over the visiting Rams, advancing the Cardinals to the semifinals Friday at Grand Junction Central.
Early on, the Cardinals offense looked a bit sluggish, which translated to the other end of the floor, but Rigsby stepped up in a big way to get things back on track for Grand Valley.
With the Cardinals trailing 3-2 early in the game, Rigsby knocked down a jumper from the wing before sparking the Cardinals’ transition offense with key rebounds and great outlet passes.
Nursing a 5-4 lead, Rigsby corralled a loose ball and found a streaking Shaya Chenoweth near midcourt, who then found Bailey Rowe in transition for a pullup 3-pointer from the top of the key, giving Grand Valley an 8-4 lead.
Rigsby then scored six straight points for the Cardinals to close out the first quarter with a 16-9 advantage.
Coming out of the quick break, Rigsby and the Cardinals then went on a big run as Rigsby knocked down two jumpers, added two free throws and then got a layup to fall in transition following a steal, pushing the Grand Valley lead to 28-14 at the half.
Things really started to heat up for both sides in the third quarter as Roaring Fork found their footing inside as Cindy Salinas went to work on the boards.
Following a Rigsby jumper along the baseline, Salinas knocked down a layup in traffic over Rowe before finding a wide-open Logan Erickson for a 3-pointer, sparking the Rams.
Rigsby and Allie Dovey added two quick buckets for the Cardinals before Salinas added another layup in traffic.
On an ensuing possession for the Rams, Salinas used a bevy of post moves in the paint before drawing the foul. Salinas knocked down the two free throws, sending the Rams into the fourth quarter down 15 points.
In the fourth quarter the Cardinals took the air out of the ball, draining the clock to seal the 42-23 win.
Rigsby finished with a game-high 24 points to lead the Cardinals to the win.
Grand Valley will take on the Olathe Pirates at 4 p.m. Friday at Grand Junction Central High School.
CARDINALS 74, SKIERS 64
A late 3-point play from Gunner Rigsby and six free throws from John Parker closed out a 74-64 Grand Valley win over the visiting Aspen Skiers on Tuesday at Grand Valley High School in the opening round of the 3A Western Slope League district tournament.
Although the Cardinals won by 10 points, the game was much closer than that as the Skiers caught fire from beyond the arc in the third quarter, closing the deficit to just three points, 53-50, before the experienced Cardinals got their act together.
As the Skiers’ barrage from downtown in the third quarter silenced the packed gymnasium, the Cardinals turned to familiar faces to close out the win.
Nursing a 53-50 lead to start the fourth quarter, Parker knocked down a tough, twisting layup in traffic to stretch the lead to 55-50 before Rigsby followed with a steal and layup to stretch the lead to seven.
Following a defensive stop, Parker hit another layup, pushing the Grand Valley advantage to 59-50.
Aspen then answered with a 3-pointer from Jack Rosenthal, but Grand Valley’s Tanner Magee answered with one free throw before Rigsby added another layup as the Cardinals started to pull away.
Rosenthal, James Kistner and Tristan Niskanen wouldn’t let the Skiers quit though, as both knocked down tough layups in traffic, pulling the Skiers within four points.
That’s when Rigsby and Parker took over. In a span of less than three minutes, the Cardinals went from up just four points to a 13-point lead at 72-59.
The Cardinals will head to Grand Junction Central High School, Friday, for the semifinals of the 3A WSL district tournament against the Basalt Longhorns.
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