Jaguars beat buzzer, Cards
PUEBLO – A last-second, desperation bucket by Katie Tekrony gave Jefferson Academy a 49-47 victory over Grand Valley in the opening round of the Class 2A girls state basketball tournament at the Colorado State Fair Events Center Thursday. Tekrony’s shot from just past half-court hit the backboard and fell through the basket for three points and a come-from-behind win for the Jaguars. “I just chucked it,” Tekrony said. “I don’t remember what play coach called. He just said to take our time and look for the best shot.
“It wasn’t supposed to go to anybody,” the 5-foot-6 junior said. Her basket came with several seconds left on the clock, but it wasn’t enough time for Grand Valley to do more than in-bound the ball. “That was the first time we gave up the lead,” Grand Valley coach Mike Johnson said. “We gave them the opportunity and they took it. “I was hoping we would play a little better.”
It was the first state tournament appearance for both teams, and the Cardinals came in with a 19-4 record. Now, they’ll take a 19-5 mark into Friday’s 1:15 p.m. consolation semifinal. Jefferson Academy (19-5) joins its boys team in the championship semifinals, playing the 8:30 p.m. late game. The Cardinals never trailed, although the game was tied early and again at 37-37 and 39-39. But Grand Valley appeared ready to put the game away when Megan Johnson hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 3:51 remaining to make it 42-39. She canned a field goal with 3:24 left, and Julianne Jones swished a pair of free throws to give the Cardinals a six-point advantage. “We had a six-point lead with 1:47 left,” coach Mike Johnson said. “I thought we’d be OK.” But Jefferson Academy stormed back to tie at 46-46 with 21 seconds remaining. Then, Grand Valley’s Jessica Cielatka was fouled and converted on the second of two opportunities.
A Jefferson Academy timeout set the stage for Tekrony’s heroics and a huge disappointment for the Cardinals. “Both teams were nervous in the first half,” the Cardinals’ coach said. “We’ve been a great defensive team all year and that helped us today. “The kids played extremely hard. Megan Johnson and Julianne Jones have really come on. Jamie Vance was our top scorer all year, but she’s been sick and other girls stepped up.” Jones scored 15 points to lead the Cardinals, and Johnson had 13. Cielatka added 10. Jones scored 15 points to lead the Cardinals, and Johnson had 13. Cielatka added 10.
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