Grand Valley boys find out what it’s like to be the hunted |

Grand Valley boys find out what it’s like to be the hunted

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

PUEBLO ” Sometimes the burden of high expectations proves too much to overcome.

Last year at this time, Grand Valley’s boys basketball team was in the midst of shocking Pueblo ” and the state of Colorado ” by parlaying the Class 2A state tournament’s fifth seed into a state championship.

The Cardinals knocked off top-seeded Evangelical Christian Academy during that run, taking the underdog role and running with it.

This year, Grand Valley found out what it must have been like to be in ECA’s shoes,

taking the top seed into the state tourney. The result: a first-round exit at the hands of No. 8 Sedgwick County and a failed quest for back-to-back state titles.

” I think it’s tougher being expected to win,” Cardinal senior Tyler Jensen said. ”

When you don’t have a lot of pressure riding on you it seems like it’s a little bit easier,

because everybody’s looking at the other team.”

Unfortunately for Jensen and Grand Valley, after storming onto the 2A basketball

map last season, the Cardinals were the ones under the spotlight this year ” and

that’s no easy task.

And it’s something teams at all levels of sport encounter. Being No. 1 means carrying

a huge target on your back, and opposing teams typically do everything within their

power to nail a bullseye.

” It’s a lot tougher with everyone gunning for ya,” Grand Valley junior Colton Cowan

noted. ” They’re all trying to knock you. Coming in as the fifth seed [last year], nobody

knew who we were.”

The pressure got to the Cardinals in that first-round game with Sedgwick on

Thursday. Rattled, they limped through the contest while Sedgwick County caught

fire and stunned the basketball world.

” It seems like everbody was expecting us to win,” said Jensen, who along with

Cowan were the only current Cardinals to see significant minutes on last year’s

title-winning team. ” People said, ‘Oh, it’s the eighth seed. You should walk all over


As Grand Valley cruelly found out, it’s not always that easy. Especially when all are

out to get you.

So, after knocking off Hoehne in the consolation semis on Friday, the Cardinals are

shifting their sights to a consol title. And they shouldn’t have trouble finding the

motivation for that chase, even if it isn’t exactly what they wanted to take home from


” We didn’t want to end it on a loss,” Jensen said, ” especially two and out. We want

to show them we deserved the No. 1 seed, that it wasn’t a fluke.”

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