Cardinals upset by Bulldogs in district championship
One night after pulling off a thrilling 13-point comeback win over Olathe in the 3A Western Slope League district tournament semifinals, the Grand Valley Cardinals girls basketball team couldn’t pull off a late comeback for the second day in a row, falling to the Moffat County Bulldogs 40-34 in the tournament finals.
Coming into the tournament as the No. 1 seed and regular season champions with a 9-0 league record, the Cardinals couldn’t pull off the season sweep of league titles due to the upset win by the Bulldogs.
Early on Moffat would race out to a 7-2 lead thanks to two three-pointers from guard Josey King, but following King’s second triple, the Cardinals would go on an 8-0 run as Grand Valley senior guard Kylyn Rigsby would score all eight points on the run to give the Cardinals a 10-7 lead after one quarter of play.
From there, things took a weird turn as Grand Valley would take a 12-10 lead in the second quarter before Moffat would tie the game at 12-12 with about four minutes to go in the second.
At around the four-minute mark, Grand Valley would pull the ball out and go into a stall tactic, trying to force the Bulldogs to come out of their tough 2-3 zone. Credit to Moffat though as the Bulldogs stayed put, forcing the Cardinals to dribble the ball for roughly three minutes near midcourt, wasting valuable time.
Following Grand Valley’s stall tactic, the Cardinals would immediately turn the ball over, setting up a last-second bucket at the buzzer by Moffat to give the Bulldogs a 14-12 lead at halftime.
Things would pick up in the third quarter as Moffat would take a 21-14 lead early in the third behind a three-pointer from Jenna Camaletti and two buckets by Maddie Jo Duzik, forcing a Grand Valley timeout.
Coming out of the quick stoppage, Rigsby, fellow senior Bailey Rowe and sophomore Shaya Chenoweth would hit three quick shots for the Cardinals, pulling them to within one, 21-20.
The two teams would then trade points as Moffat would hold a 24-23 lead heading into the final quarter of play with the district tournament championship on the line.
In the final quarter of play, Moffat would go 14-for-17 from the free throw line to clinch the upset win, marking the fifth straight season the Bulldogs have won the have won the district tournament championship.
With the loss, Grand Valley will most likely begin the 3A state playoffs on the road.
Rigsby finished with 17 points, while Rowe added 11 points for the Cardinals.
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After bowing out of the 3A state soccer playoffs in the quarterfinals and semifinals the past two seasons, the Roaring Fork Rams finally get their shot at a state title on Saturday.