Grand Valley falls to Lutheran in Great Eight
Making its first trip to the Colorado High School Activities Association’s 3A Great Eight, the Grand Valley Cardinals boys basketball team had a rough go of things against the Lutheran Lions on Friday, falling in heartbreaking fashion, 66-52.
Featuring their high-powered attack against the arm length and size of the Lions, the Cardinals fell behind early as Lutheran senior guard Josh Bjorgum knocked down three first-quarter 3-pointers, pacing the Lions out to a 17-4 lead.
Fortunately for Grand Valley, sophomore forward Garret Magee and junior guard Gunner Rigsby responded with back-to-back 3-pointers, cutting the deficit to just 17-10.
From there, Bjorgum knocked down one free throw and junior guard Austin Anguilm added a free throw before Rigsby hit a layup in traffic to cut the Lions’ lead to just 20-12 after eight minutes of play.
Picking up action in the second quarter, Bjorgum continued to knock down 3-pointers, giving the Cardinals a taste of their own medicine early. Senior guard Alonso Smith also joined in on the Lutheran 3-point party, sinking his own triple to extend the Lutheran lead to 26-13 early in the second quarter, threatening to pull away for good.
But much like they have all year, the Cardinals didn’t panic and started to knock down shots of their own.
Coming off of a high screen, Grand Valley senior guard Leoray Hernandez buried a 3-pointer before following up with another one on the run, cutting the Lions’ lead to just seven midway through the quarter.
Continuing to attack, Rigsby knocked down a fadeaway jumper just off the elbow and then added two free throws following a driving attempt at the basket, sending the Cardinals into the half down eight, 31-23.
After making some key adjustments at halftime, the Cardinals came storming out of the break, playing their style of run-and-gun basketball.
To open the half, Grand Valley senior forward Tanner Magee — who was in foul trouble for much of the game — knocked down a tough layup through contact and sank the ensuing free throw to cut the lead to just five points.
Lutheran answered with a putback layup by junior forward Will Willis before Tanner Magee hit two consecutive layups in transition.
Garret Magee then followed up with a putback layup to narrow the deficit to just one before a fast-break layup from senior forward Russell Schofield and a 3-pointer off of a screen by senior guard John Parker gave the Cardinals their first lead of the game at the 3:25 mark of the third quarter.
Nursing a four-point lead, Rigsby tried to get another layup in transition by driving through the defender, but on the attempt the junior guard came crashing to the court, landing hard on his right wrist while drawing the offensive foul.
Rigsby, who was playing very well up until that point, had to leave the game. He didn’t return.
Down a key starter and the rest of the team in foul trouble, the Cardinals did everything they could to hang on, but a 23-10 run by the Lions allowed them to pull away for the win as Anguilm repeatedly got into the lane for layups and mid-range jumpers, while Willis and senior center Tanner Rich went to work on the offensive and defensive boards, sparking the Lutheran run.
Lutheran went on to outscore the Cardinals 17-11 in the fourth quarter to secure the 14-point win.
In the loss, Rigsby finished with 11 points, while Tanner Magee added nine points.
Parker led the way with 13 points, and Hernandez added eight points.
The Cardinals will play the Manitou Springs Mustangs at 11:45 a.m. Friday.
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