Chenoweth points way to Cards’ victory
PEACH VALLEY — Kyra Chenoweth wasn’t about to sit out, even if the middle finger on her right hand — her shooting hand — was black and blue.
The Grand Valley High School senior dislocated the finger on her shooting hand during the second quarter of the Cardinals’ Class 3A Western Slope League game against Coal Ridge. But instead of going to the bench and sitting out the remainder of the game, the 5-foot-8 wing had her fingers taped up. Two minutes later, she was back out on the floor playing.
That injury didn’t seem to bother her, either. Chenoweth finished with a game-high 28 points — including a 15-for-22 performance from the free-throw line — to lift the Cardinals to a 61-44 victory over the Titans at the Coal Ridge High gym.
“I needed to be out there,” Chenoweth said. “Coal Ridge is a team we look forward to playing every year, and the love I have for my team helped me go back out there to help.”
She certainly helped from start to finish. Chenoweth scored five points during the Cardinals game-opening 13-0 run, helping pave the way for Grand Valley to lead by as many as 18 in the first half. She was clutch even down the stretch after the Titans had closed the gap significantly, hitting 6-of-8 foul shots — including six straight — in the final 3 minutes, 34 seconds.
That, along with an 11-point, 14-rebound performance from Jordan Scott, helped Grand Valley (4-3 overall, 1-1 3A WSL) rebound from a 41-37 home loss to Olathe the night before. It was Chenoweth’s outing, however, that inspired her teammates.
“Kyra is such a great leader for us this year,” first-year Grand Valley coach Jake Higuera said. “Her attitude in either wins or losses is awesome, and she helps our younger girls to understand what it takes to win. She really has a never-say-quit attitude.”
Mariela Martinez, Jenny Call and Kyrie’ Foreman each finished with 11 points to pace a balanced scoring attack for Coal Ridge (1-5 overall, 1-1 league), which battled back from its double-digit deficit to pull within 50-41 on a 3-pointer from Call with 5:51 remaining in the game. First-year coach Steve Young praised the effort his team gave, but he emphasized how a more-consistent performance could have made the score much closer much sooner.
“I gave them credit because they never gave up. They fought and fought and fought, which is good,” Young said. “But we got in too big of a hole, and we never really ran our offense fully. We closed the gap in the second but after halftime, we fell apart. We can’t have that.”
Grand Valley held Coal Ridge without a field goal until the 2:48 mark of the first quarter, when a jumper from Alexandria Winkler pulled the Titans within 18-4. A pair of foul shots from Chenoweth before her injury put the Cardinals up 27-9 for their big lead of the game, but Coal Ridge closed the half with a 13-4 run to come within 31-22 at halftime.
Meanwhile, taped fingers and all, Chenoweth kept scoring. She had nine of the Cardinals’ 15 points in the third quarter to extend Grand Valley’s lead to 46-33. Then, after Call hit a layup to pull the Titans within 52-43 with 3:34 left, Chenoweth was fouled on three consecutive Grand Valley possessions and went 6-for-6 at the line, with her two free throws at the 2:17 mark of the fourth quarter giving Grand Valley a 58-43 lead.
“I asked Jordan [Scott] at halftime during warmups, ‘How am I going to shoot free throws with only three fingers?’” Chenoweth said, joking. “I just buckled down. Free throws win games, and I knew we really needed those foul shots.”
Boys: Grand Valley 66, Coal Ridge 56
PEACH VALLEY — Sam Parker finished with a game-high 23 points to go with a 17-point performance from John Parker, and 10th-ranked Grand Valley (6-1 overall, 2-0 3A WSL) pulled away from a pesky Coal Ridge squad at the end of the third quarter.
The Titans, who had three players reach double figures in scoring, pulled within 42-34 with 1:31 left in the third on a 3-pointer from Hunter Gerber. Sam and John Parker each hit a pair of foul shots to close the quarter, however. Sam Parker then converted a three-point play to start the final stanza, and Tanner Magee followed with a putback that staked the Cardinals to a 51-34 lead with 7:15 left to play.
Coal Ridge (2-4, 1-1 league) was paced by Greyson Keener’s 18 points to go with Gerber’s 12 and Jake Solinger’s 10 points. Magee added 10 points for the Cardinals, who extended their lead to 32-21 at halftime after rallying to take a 16-14 lead after one quarter.
Grand Valley continues league play Thursday when it plays at Roaring Fork.
Coal Ridge will try to rebound when it continues league play Tuesday at home against Moffat County.
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Coal Ridge High School’s co-ed cheer team has won the state competition for a second straight year.