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Grand Valley boys advance in districts

Jeff CaspersenGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

PARACHUTE, Colo. It’s not every day a coach lets a player take off at halftime, but Grand Valley’s Scott Kiburis had no qualms doing just that Saturday. And this was even a Class 2A district playoff game.That’s because his Cardinals were well on their way to an 87-43 boys basketball thrashing of Soroco, and senior guard Richard Gallegos wanted to watch his brother, Ryan, vie for the Class 2A 119-pound state wrestling title at Denver’s Pepsi Center Saturday evening.With Grand Valley up 44-21 – with the help of a late first-half 3-pointer from Gallegos – Kiburis issued the free pass.”It’s an interesting story,” the coach said. “His dad’s the coach, and I knew he really wanted to see his brother.”Had the game been closer, Kiburis knows his Gallegos would have had no part in leaving the floor early.”He would have only left knowing we had a comfortable lead,” Kiburis noted. While that first half spotlighted Grand Valley’s inside-outside passing prowess, most of what happened in the second half transpired from the perimeter. The Cardinals drained seven 3-pointers in the second half, including five in the third quarter.While action beyond the arc is normally reserved for Cardinal sharpshooter Sam McKinley, everybody chipped in on Saturday.Seven different Grand Valley players hit 3-pointers, with Colton Cowan’s three triples fronting the pack. Center Luke Braby led the Cardinals in points with 24, 16 of those coming in the first half and most fed by crisp passing through a porous Soroco zone.”I got some good looks,” said the 6-foot-5 Braby, who also had 11 rebounds and three blocks. “They were in a zone, and there were holes. I’d get open, and they’d hit me with the ball.”Braby was joined in double figures by four teammates – Cowan (14), Tyler Jensen (12), Mitch Beiden (11) and McKinley (10). McKinley temporarily left the game in the third quarter after injuring his back but returned not long after.Next up for the Cardinals is a date with either Plateau Valley or Hayden in the second round of districts. Braby and company hope to be in the playoffs for the long haul.Said the center: “Anything short of a state championship would be a disappointment for this team.”


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