Rams split with Cardinals thanks to dramatic endings
Saturday’s 3A Western Slope League battle in Parachute between the Grand Valley Cardinals and the visiting Roaring Fork Rams was supposed to be centered largely around the two dominant boys teams, but it was the Cardinal and Ram girls that stole the show inside ‘The Nest’ at Grand Valley High School, as the two teams fought hard in an entertaining back-and-forth game that Grand Valley came out on top 51-46 in, even if it didn’t start out looking like it would be a classic game
Right from the opening tip, the Cardinals trapped the Rams near mid-court, forcing a number of Roaring Fork turnovers that the Cardinals cashed in on at the other end to take a quick 11-0 lead as standout junior Shaya Chenoweth scored 6 early points, while sophomore guard Jordyn Pittman hit a 3-pointer and sophomore forward Lohgan Teter hit a tough shot in the paint, forcing Roaring Fork Head Coach Jade Bath to burn a timeout.
Trailing 11-0 early, the Rams seemed to settle down after the quick stoppage, largely due to sophomore forward Caroline Wisroth coming off the bench to lite a spark offensively for Roaring Fork. Wisroth sank two free throws to get the Rams on the board before then hitting a tough jumper through contact to make it 12-4 moments later.
After Wisroth hit the first field goal of the game for the Rams, Roaring Fork found its footing offensively to rip off a 6-0 run, pulling to within 12-8 as Wisroth and senior Megan Nieslanik splashed home mid-range jumpers.
“With her [Wisroth] she’s always going to play strong in the post and get rebounds for us, but when she scores like she did today, it’s an added bonus,” Bath said. “We’ve been working on her shot and not having her rush it. She’s one of those kids that you’re always going to expect heart, hustle and rebounds, but having her come off the bench and score for us was huge.”
Chenoweth stopped the Roaring Fork run by splitting a pair of free throws, but Wisroth came right back with a layup in transition to make it 13-10. Chenoweth answered with a free throw at the other end before Grand Valley senior guard Danielle Call drilled a 3-pointer to give Grand Valley a 17-10 lead late in the first quarter.
Nieslanik hit a jumper just before the buzzer to pull Roaring Fork to within five points at 17-12 after a rough start to the game.
Following the tough start and a quick bounce back in the first quarter, Roaring Fork continued to find its stride in the second quarter even after another rough start. Chenoweth came up with a steal and a layup through contact to start the second quarter, capping off the 3-point play with a free throw to make it 20-12 Cardinals early. Roaring Fork junior Gabby Santana converted a layup at the other end to right the ship for the Rams before Pittman split a pair of free throws to give the Cardinals a 21-14 lead early in the second quarter.
Junior point guard Logan Erickson splashed home a 3-pointer for the Rams to pull to within four points, then splitting a pair of free throws on the next trip for the Rams to make it 21-18. After a Chenoweth free throw, Wisroth hit a tough shot in the paint to make it 22-20, but Pittman and Chenoweth were able to hit layups in transition before the end of the half to send the Cardinals into the break with a 26-22 lead.
Coming out of the break, Call and Erickson traded 3-pointers before freshman Tabitha Call – on her birthday – corralled an offensive rebound and got the putback shot to fall, giving Grand Valley a 31-125 lead early in the third quarter. Erickson then found Santana in transition for a layup for the Rams, but Tabitha Call answered right back with a jumper to keep tine Cardinals in front by five midway through the quarter.
Needed to get going offensively, Erickson started to look for her own shot and drilled her second 3-pointer of the quarter to make it 33-30, but just as the Rams seemed to get within striking distance, Chenoweth came up with another steal and layup at the other end to put the lead back up to five points.
Not to be outdone, Erickson splashed home another 3-pointer for the Rams, but Pittman converted a layup at the other end to make it 37-33 with just under 15 seconds left in the quarter. A late layup by Roaring Fork junior Kendall Bernot sent the two teams into the final quarter of play with the Cardinals nursing a 37-35 lead.
“She’s [Erickson] got her confidence back in her shot, which is huge for us offensively,” Bath said. “Having her have her confidence and kind of matching Grand Valley’s guard play today really allowed us to get going offensively.”
Roaring Fork sophomore guard Emily Broadhurst quickly tied the game at 37-37 with a runner along the baseline, but Pittman countered right back with a layup and the foul to make it 40-37 Grand Valley. A steal and a layup by Broadhurst kept the Rams close before Chenoweth sank two free throws to make it 42-39 Cardinals.
From there, Roaring Fork went on a quick 7-0 run to take its first lead of the game at 46-42 thanks to a jumper from Nieslanik, a jumper for Broadhurst and a 3-pointer from Erickson. Danielle Call answered back with a 3-pointer to halt the Roaring Fork run before Chenoweth split a pair of free throws to tie the game at 48-48 late.
Pressing again like they did in the first half, Grand Valley forced the Rams into two straight turnovers – one of which Chenoweth stole and put in for a layup to take a 48-46 lead with 31 seconds left in the game. From there, Chenoweth closed out the game at the free throw line for the Cardinals, sinking three of four attempts to give the Cardinals a thrilling 51-46 win.
“With Emily [Broadhurst] fouling out, that really hurt us late in the quarter,” Bath said. “Not having another ball-handling guard out there with Logan to help beat the press was tough for us. But I told the girls in the locker room after the game that this loss was on me. I kind of wanted the girls to stall and get Grand Valley to foul us and put us on the line. That’s on men; I got the girls out of their rhythm.”
In the win, Chenoweth led the way with 24 points for Grand Valley, while Pittman and Danielle Call added 12 and 9 points, respectively. For Roaring Fork, Erickson led the way with 15 points, while Wisroth and Nieslanik added 10 and 6 points, respectively.
Grand Valley (6-4, 1-1 3A WSL) will host Paonia Tuesday night in a non-conference matchup, while Roaring Fork (6-4, 0-2 3A WSL) will host the Coal Ridge Titans Tuesday in Carbondale.
ROARING FORK 51, GRAND VALLEY 48
Shooting woes and foul trouble doomed the Grand Valley Cardinals’ boys basketball team Saturday afternoon in Parachute against a tough Roaring Fork Rams team, as the Rams executed well down the stretch to pick up a tough 51-48 win over the previously undefeated Cardinals in a 3A Western Slope clash.
With both teams riding identical 8-game winning streaks coming into the game, something had to give. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, it was their high-flying offensive attack, which struggled to convert shots all game long despite getting good looks.
“You know, with the RPI system, every win is a big one,” Roaring Fork Head Coach Larry Williams said. “I knew going into the season that Grand Valley was going to be one of the top teams in the league, so it was a big win for us.”
Much like the girls game, Grand Valley raced out to a quick 9-3 lead following an Irving Anchondo 3-pointer for the Rams to start the game, as senior guard Jeff Holbrook splashed home a 3-pointer and a circus layup, while junior center Indra Griggs and senior guard Garett Magee hit tough shots to cap off the Grand Valley run. Following a quick Roaring Fork timeout by Williams, the Rams settled down and quickly tied the game thakns to a 6-0 run off of two buckets from standout senior Justin Thompson and a jumper from junior Joe Salinas.
Griggs gave the Cardinals the lead back with two free throws, but the Rams stormed right back with a free throw from Salinas and a jumper from Thompson to take a 12-11 lead late in the opening quarter. Looking to get a last-second shot attempt, Magee was fouled by a Ram on a 3-point attempt, sending the senior to the free throw line for three shots. Magee converted two for three to give the Cardinals a slim 13-12 lead after one quarter of play.
Salinas started the second quarter for the Rams on a personal 5-0 run thanks to a jumper and a triple to give the Rams a 17-13 lead, but Magee answered back wit ha 3-pointer of his own. Senior guard Brenden Hagerty hit a layup off a steal to give Grand Valley an 18-17 lead, leading to the two teams trading shot for shot before three free throws and a tough layup from Griggs in the paint gave the Cardinals a 27-21 lead that they’d take into the half over the Rams.
After the halftime break, Salinas took over the game for the Rams, scoring six big points in the third quarter to help the Rams battle back. Along with Salinas, Anchondo caught fire as well, drilling a 3-pointer, converting a layup on a back-door cut and finding a cutting Aidan Sloan for a layup, giving the Rams a 35-32 lead late in the third quarter. Holbrook sank two free throws with seconds left in the quarter to send the two teams into the fourth with the Rams holding a 35-34 lead over the undefeated Cardinals.
“I thought Joe was phenomenal tonight,” Williams said. “Our guards did a great job of getting him the ball in good spots to score.”
The fourth quarter became a continuous trip to the free throw line for physical teams, as the Rams went 14-for-19 from the charity stripe, while the Cardinals went 6-for-8, but with the game close at 49-48 Rams after a jumper from Grand Valley senior Kade Hurst, Thompson saved the day for the Rams, beating the Cardinal press to get into the layup for a layup through contact for a potential 3-point play. The junior missed the ensuing free throw, but a Grand Valley turnover gave the ball back to the Rams as Mikel Mayo went to the free throw line for two shots, looking to put the game away.
However, Mayo missed both free throws, giving Grand Valley one last chance. Holbrook heaved a shot from mid-court that missed the mark, giving the Rams a big league win over the No. 3 Cardinals on the road.
In the win, Salinas poured in a game-high 20 points, while Thompson and Anchondo added 12 and 11 points for the Rams. Holbrook led the Cardinals with 12 points, while Magee and Griggs added 11 points each.
With the loss, Grand Valley falls to 9-1 (1-1 3A WSL) on the season. The Rams improve to 9-1 (2-0 3A WSL).
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This game. This rivalry. This season. It hasn’t meant this much in a long time.