Grand Valley ousted in low-scoring contest against ‘Dogs |

Grand Valley ousted in low-scoring contest against ‘Dogs

GRAND JUNCTION ” When breaking down Grand Valley’s 35-31 loss to Dolores County at Saturday’s Class 2A girls Western Regional basketball tournament, there are no clear-cut answers.

Only maybes.

Maybe if the Cardinals shot a little better against the San Juan League champion Bulldogs, or maybe if Grand Valley rebounded more in the fourth quarter the outcome would have been different.

Maybes aside, the Cards had their chances.

Grand Valley trailed by three points and had possession of the ball for most of the game’s final 62 seconds, but only managed to get a single free throw during that time span.

“I thought our kids battled and played hard,” Grand Valley coach Mike Johnson said. “But we didn’t get it done.”

“I’m going to have to take a good, hard look at this one,” Johnson continued. “We didn’t make good decisions. I guess to can attribute that to the big-game atmosphere. But, we didn’t play our game today.”

Grand Valley took a 14-11 lead at the halftime intermission. Neither squad was hitting. Heading into the halftime locker room, the two teams were a combined 10-of-43 from the floor.

Point guard Jessica Cielakta was the only player to have any shooting success in the first half. The Cardinal junior connected on 3-of-4 shots for seven points, to put Grand Valley on top, 14-11.

The lead vanished three minutes into the second half when Dolores County connected on three straight field goals.

Ahead 22-18, the Bulldogs raised their lead to five points by the end of the quarter.

Grand Valley pulled within a point of Dolores County early in the fourth quarter when Holly Steltzlen and Jaime Vance scored, only to see the Bulldogs pull away to a 33-25 advantage with a 7-0 run.

Vance and Cielakta scored again to reduce the lead to 33-30, but the Cards couldn’t convert after creating some defensive turnovers.

Wynette Jackson hit the front iron after a Bulldog miss. Vance stole the ball back, but fell before taking a shot, then missed a second attempt after Dolores County missed a free throw.

Jackson cut the margin to 33-31 with a free throw before the Bulldogs Teresa Martin ended Grand Valley’s hopes by sinking a pair from the line in the game’s waning seconds.

Cielakta and Dolores County’s Prentael Coker led with 10 points each. Steltzlen finished with eight. The Cardinals end the season with 14-8 record.

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