Grand Valley boys knocked from title hunt
PUEBLO ” There will be no parade to celebrate a state basketball title in Parachute this year. Not for the Grand Valley High School boys hoops team, anyway.
The defending state champion Cardinals, weighed down by an atypically anemic offense, found themselves on the wrong side of a 41-39 score in the first round of the Class 2A state tournament at Colorado State University-Pueblo on Thursday.
“We never really got it going, I thought,” Cards coach Scott Kiburis said. “That’s the lowest [point total] we’ve ever had here in my eight years.”
Grand Valley, the top seed in the eight-team state tourney, led by as many as 14 points in the second quarter before the No. 8 Cougars began chipping away.
The Cardinals, widely known for putting up points in bunches, weren’t connecting from the field with any sort of regularity and Segwick County took full advantage.
The Cougars (19-5) trimmed their deficit to 23-15 by halftime and to 29-26 by the end of the third quarter. They then scored four of the first five points in the fourth to tie it up at 30 apiece.
Grand Valley’s offense continued to sputter down the stretch as Sedgwick surged ahead 35-32 on five straight points from Keith Pocock. The Cougars would not relinquish that lead, answering pretty much every Cardinal bucket with offense of its own.
Pocock led all scorers with 15 points.
Tyler Jensen paced Grand Valley (20-3) with 12 points. Colton Cowan added 10 for the Cardinals, who drop into the consolation bracket and will face either No. 4 Hoehne (20-3) or No. 5 Calhan (19-4) at 1:15 p.m. today. A win would put them in Saturday’s consolation final with a fifth-place state finish on the line.
Fighting for fifth place will be much different than fighting for a state title as Grand Valley did last year, Kiburis noted.
“They won a state championship last year so they don’t like to lose games at all,” Kiburis said. “I assume, like most teams, that they’ll bounce back. They just disappointed. They’re pretty sure they didn’t play to their caliber.”
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