Coal Ridge moves on, Cardinals season over
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
PEACH VALLEY, Colorado ” Playoff basketball lends itself to special moments and scary moments.
Coal Ridge knows this well. The Titans (20-3) experienced both scenarios in their 74-62 win over Holy Family to give some added spice in the final period to make what appeared to be a blowout at halftime turn into a nailbiter.
The Titans were cruising after blasting out to a 39-19 lead at intermission. Possibly, the statement moment of the first half came when Alex Klein powered home a dunk off an Eric Schmitz alley-oop pass early in the first period.
“Alex almost broke the floor. That kind of set the tone,” said Coal Ridge head coach Paul Harvey about the big man’s monster slam.
Klein finished with 12 points. Schmitz led the Titans with 19 and teammate Andy Smedra added 18.
Coal Ridge broke loose from an 8-all tie midway in the quarter with a 6-0 scoring run. Ahead by six, the Titans added to their lead with a 5-0 spurt after a Tigers bucket.
The pattern continued in the second quarter when the Titans outscored Holy Family 17-5, holding the Tigers to shooting 8-for-29 from the floor, while connecting on 17 of 33 shots of their own.
Coal Ridge never trailed in the game, but Holy Family did make the second half interesting.
Along with changing the dichotomy of the game from ease to nervous tension, the Tigers fashioned their best effort of the game in the third quarter, knocking down 10-of-17 field goal attempts that saw Holy Family pop in 13 straight points to pull within 10 of Coal Ridge at the end of the third. That’s when the Titans rediscovered their game.
“I was concerned because we were careless with the ball and (Holy Family) was really aggressive and getting pretty physical with the ball,” Harvey said of the third quarter.
Holding a 54-44 margin entering the final quarter Jonathan Roessler had four of his eight points in a key span to give Coal Ridge some breathing room. His last bucket, with 2:06 left to go, put the Titans back up by 11.
“They made a nice comeback. Luckily, our guys withstood it and made the plays when we needed to,” Harvey said of Holy Family’s second half.
The win moves Coal Ridge into today’s 1 p.m. regional championship game with Colorado Academy, where the winner earns a berth to next week’s Class 3A state playoffs, which will be down to eight teams.
PEACH VALLEY, Colorado ” Grand Valley head coach Mark Cowan is proud of what his team accomplished this year, no matter how the scoreboard read after Friday’s 58-42 loss to Colorado Academy.
“The one thing I want to say about my kids is they had to make a hard adjustment going from Class 2A to 3A this year,” he said. “The competition is higher, but I felt our kids for the entire year continued to improve and work really hard at the game.”
Those factors allowed Grand Valley to reach the regional level in their first go-round as a 3A school and end the season with a strong 15-8 record.
Colorado Academy’s height was a problem for the Cardinals the entire game. Phil Jones, a, 6-foot-3 inch guard led all scorers with 23 points. David Jones, a 6-6 forward pulled in a game-high eight rebounds.
Grand Valley’s only lead came when Michael Shepard hit the game’s opening basket. He led the Cardinals with 14 points. Colorado Academy responded by scoring nine straight points. The Cardinals scored just six points in the period to trail 12-6.
The Mustangs lead grew to 33-13 at intermission before Grand Valley whittled the margin down to the final score by outscoring their opponents 31-25 in the second half.
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The brackets are set for the 12-team 4A girls lacrosse state championships, and the Roaring Fork Rams are dancing as the No. 9 seed.