Grand Valley girls advance, boys out
PARACHUTE ” This time, a second-place finish is just as good as finishing first.
Despite Grand Valley’s 40-27 loss to North Park in Saturday’s Class 2A, girls District 5 championship game, the Cardinals (15-7) are still going to this weekend’s Region 1 tournament in Grand Junction.
Grand Valley, the district runner-up, earned its way into the regional tournament with Friday’s 50-45 semifinal win over Hayden.
Down 24-21 at halftime, Grand Valley rallied to take a 38-33 lead in the third quarter by outscoring the visiting Tigers 17-9.
Four players accounted for all of the Cardinals points in the quarter.
Guard Jessica Cielatka netted five points, and center Holly Steltzlen had four of her team-high 13 points in the third quarter. Jamie Vance and Wynette Jackson had four points each.
Hayden reduced Grand Valley’s lead to three points with 2 minutes, 25 seconds left in the fourth quarter until free throws by Steltzlen, Cielatka and Ashley Christensen sealed the win in the final minute.
In Saturday’s championship game, Jackson and Steltzlen had seven points each. Cielatka finished with five, followed by Christensen with four points.
According to league rules, North Park, the regular-season league champion, receives a guaranteed regional berth by winning the 2A Western Slope League title.
The Cardinal boys season ended with a 73-64 semifinal loss to Paonia on Friday.
Led by freshman Sam McKinley’s 11 points, Grand Valley streaked to a 22-16 first quarter lead, then had to fight back in the latter portion of the second period to forge a 34-all tie after falling back by four to the Eagles.
Paonia took the lead for good after intermission by outscoring the Cardinals 14-9 in the third quarter.
McKinley finished with a season-high 28 points in Friday’s game, which included seven three-point field goals. The seven treys tied a school record, held jointly by McKinley’s older brother Clay and Justin Conklin.
Grand Valley concluded the season with a 16-5 record.
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