Cards’ defense decks Rams
CARBONDALE — For all that’s been made about the scoring ability of the Grand Valley High School boys basketball team, it’s the Cardinals’ defense that paved the way for that scoring Friday night against the Roaring Fork Rams.
Sam Parker and Gunner Rigsby each finished with a game-high 22 points for the eighth-ranked Cardinals, who took a big lead early thanks to its transition game on their way to a 72-56 Class 3A Western Slope League victory at the Roaring Fork High gymnasium.
“That’s our main focus is to play good D and get out on the break,” Rigsby, a sophomore, said. “Everyone on this team has been working their hardest on defense every since we’ve been together. We were iffy on defense last year but, now that we’ve gotten it down, we’re starting to see a lot more success.”
That’s definitely the case for the No. 8 Cardinals (7-1 overall, 3-0 3A WSL), who used that transition game to lead by double figures at the end of the first quarter and lead by as much as 30 by the halfway point of the third quarter. That also resulted in a balanced scoring attack for Grand Valley as well: Tanner Magee added 13 points and John Parker chipped in 10.
“The kids have really dedicated themselves to team defense,” Grand Valley coach Scott Parker said. “I felt that we were in the right place defensively most of the time tonight. And when we play defense like that, we’re pretty good in transition.”
Ben Carpenter had a team-high 16 points with four 3-pointers, Chering Sherpa added 12 and Adrian Chavez chipped in 11 points for the Rams (6-3 overall, 3-1 league), who lost their first league game of the season. Roaring Fork’s starting five was so displeased with its performance after the game that, during the final half of the fourth quarter, it huddled together at the end of the Rams’ bench.
“I have no clue what they said to each other,” Roaring Fork coach Larry Williams said. “I’m assuming, though, that it was something along the lines of ‘Let’s not let something like this happen again.’ We have good leadership on this team, and I know these guys will look forward to the challenge of playing these guys again.”
The Cardinals made things challenging from the beginning.
Thanks to that first-quarter defensive effort, Grand Valley opened the game on a 19-4 run that was capped by a putback from Magee with 1 minute 55 seconds remaining in the first quarter. And the Cardinals didn’t let up, either, pushing the lead to 36-15 on a 3-pointer from Sam Parker with 1:54 left before halftime. The Cardinals’ biggest lead was 32 points, which came after a pair of 3s from Rigsby and a jumper from Magee.
“They’re a good team and they worked hard,” said Rigsby, who finished with four of the Cardinals’ nine 3-pointers. “We just tried to come out and play our hardest from the get go, and this was the outcome.”
Girls: Grand Valley 52, Roaring Fork 13
CARBONDALE — Kyra Chenoweth finished with a game-high 22 points and Kylyn Rigsby added 18 points to pace Grand Valley (5-3, 2-1 league), who pulled away in the first quarter after the young Rams (3-5, 2-1 league) kept the game lose early on.
The Rams were within 10-6 with four minutes gone in the first quarter. From there, however, Grand Valley held Roaring Fork scoreless for the next 17 minutes during a 27-0 run, which was snapped when a 3-pointer from sophomore Katie Weimer with 5:10 left in the third quarter pulled the Rams within 37-9. Roaring Fork wasn’t able to come closer, however, and the Cardinals added to their lead with the few bench players they have for the remainder of the game.
Weimer had five points, and Ashley Hall chipped in a team-high six for the Rams.
Allie Dovey added five points and Jordan Scott chipped in four for Grand Valley, which continues league play at home today against Aspen. Both Roaring Fork squads will try to rebound from Friday’s losses when they continue league play today at Olathe.
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Local teams just missed out on qualifying for state as teams but will be sending individual representatives following Friday’s regional meets.