Cowboys rally to put away Coal Ridge girls |

Cowboys rally to put away Coal Ridge girls

Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson

PEACH VALLEY ” The Coal Ridge girls basketball team and its coach, Jacky Gaddis, are still getting to know the Class 2A Western Slope League.

“I couldn’t have told you a thing about 2A basketball (last season),” said the first-year coach of the first-year program.

“It’s new to me, and it’s also new to the girls,” Gaddis explained after Friday’s 59-53 loss to WSL rival Plateau Valley.

One thing about small-school hoops. It’s rough.

The two teams combined for 42 personal fouls, which put free-throw shooting at a premium.

The visiting Cowboys went 20-of-37 from the line on the night. That helped them earn a divisional win over the Titans (5-4), who hit 14 of 27 free-throw tries.

Plateau Valley (9-1) took advantage of Coal Ridge personals for a slight early lead. A lead that shot up to 18-8 by the end of the first quarter when the Cowboys scored four straight baskets.

“They were calling everything right off the bat,” Gaddis said. “That’s something that we need to learn now if the league is going to be like this.”

Coal Ridge spent all of the next two quarters chipping away at the Cowboys’ lead.

Mikaela Guettler scored eight of her team-high 14 points, including the final basket of the third quarter, to pull the Titans within two of Plateau Valley. Daile Gray started the fourth by hitting a long 3-pointer from the left side for Coal Ridge’s first lead since the first quarter.

Beecraft extended the Titans’ slim margin to 43-40 on a deuce the following possession.

The teams exchanged baskets and leads for the next two minutes until forward Kaitlyn Moeller gave Coal Ridge a 53-52 lead after following up Adrian Frazee’s missed free throw with 1 minute, 46 seconds left in the contest.

Defensively, the Titans helped themselves by forcing Plateau Valley into a turnover the next trip down the floor, only to lose the advantage when Beecraft was pressured into a five-second violation.

Given a second change, the Cowboys Jami Smith scored the last of her game-high 18 points to retake the lead, then extend it with four straight field goals.

Gaddis felt good about her team’s performance in the loss.

“There’s no way that anyone could walk out of the gym and not have respect for my girls,” she said.

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