Nelson, Guy carry Gunnison past Coal Ridge |

Nelson, Guy carry Gunnison past Coal Ridge

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

PEACH VALLEY, Colorado – No matter what Coal Ridge threw at Kjirsten Nelson defensively, the Gunnison point guard had an answer. Scoring 27 of her team’s 39 points, Nelson led the Cowboys to a 39-33 girls basketball win over the host Titans on Saturday.

“We couldn’t stop her,” Coal Ridge head coach Rick Schmitz said. “She had a great game.”

Nelson scored 14 points in the first half and keyed a 9-0 second-quarter run that helped Gunnison to a 16-11 halftime lead.

Nelson’s offensive efforts aside, defense ruled the afternoon in Peach Valley.

Neither team struck for a field goal until Nelson hit an and-one layup with 44.5 seconds remaining in the opening quarter. Until then, four Coal Ridge free throws were the only points on the scoreboard.

“We did our best defensively,” said Nelson, a junior. “A saying we have in our locker room is, ‘If you fake it defensively, you’re pretending to play.’ Something like that. So we picked it up on defense really well.”

Unable to unearth any sort of offensive rhythm in the second half, the Titans never did get over the hump.

“We hung in there,” Schmitz said. “We just couldn’t get close enough. We didn’t make enough plays to put any pressure on them in the fourth quarter.”

Shooting woes severely hamstrung Coal Ridge’s comeback effort. The Titans hit at an 11-of-50 clip (22 percent) from the floor.

Brianna Rhodes led Coal Ridge, now 2-3 overall and 1-2 in the 3A Western Slope League, with nine points. Sam Wilson contributed seven points and Chasity Gonzales and Ashlie Bowles netted six apiece.

Gunnison improved to 3-3 overall and to 1-2 in the 3A WSL with the win.

“We came here to win and we played to win,” Nelson said. “That’s what our mindset was, and we did that.”

Just as Nelson gave Coal Ridge’s girls fits, Emmet Guy terrorized the Titan boys.

Erupting for 25 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals, the 5-foot-8 Guy led Gunnison to a 66-53 win.

“He’s good,” Coal Ridge head coach Paul Harvey said. “He’s very good. We let him just get too many easy looks.”

Guy, a senior, said he’s only been the Cowboys’ go-to scorer this season.

“I really got in the gym over the summer,” he relayed. “Coach came to me at the end of last year and was like, ‘You’re going to be the one who’s going to be scoring a lot. You better get your shot going.'”

The offseason labor has proven worth it, as evidenced by Guy’s 21.5 points-per game scoring average.

“He plays a lot bigger than he is,” Gunnison head coach Jake Stone said of his diminutive guard.

With Guy at the controls, Stone’s Cowboys held a comfortable advantage for much of Saturday’s contest.

After swapping leads with the Titans for much of the first quarter, Gunnison closed out the frame with a 7-2 run to go up 18-13.

The lead swelled to 30-20 by halftime and to 37-24 after three quarters.

Josh Sawdo scored 15 points to complement Guy’s game-high point total. Luke George and Nicanor Garcia netted 10 points apiece for Gunnison, now 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the 3A WSL.

Andy Smedra led Coal Ridge (0-5, 0-3) with 17 points. Rafael Fabela chipped in with 11.

“We’re still trying to find our way,” Harvey said. “We’re trying to find the right mix.”

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