Coming into Friday night’s 3A Western Slope League matchup in Parachute between the Grand Valley Cardinals’ girls basketball team and the visiting Aspen Skiers, standout junior guard Shaya Chenoweth sat just 28 points away from the 1,000-point mark for her career in the white, red and black of Grand Valley.
After hearing about the feat all day long in school from friends about whether she’d accomplish the feat on her home floor or not, the junior guard came out slow, scoring just 10 first-half points as she looked overwhelmed withe the buildup to the moment as some of her usual shots she’d hit came up short.
But in the third quarter, following a quick halftime in which the Cardinals led the visiting Skiers 30-0, Chenoweth came out and simply went off, scoring 19 points in the third quarter to give her 29 in the game, allowing her to surpass the 1,000-point barrier with 52 seconds left in the third quarter with a layup from the left block following an Aspen turnover.
“I didn’t really even care for the points,” Chenoweth said following the game. “I was playing for the other girls on the team. I just love playing with them and leaving everything out on the court with them. I thought about putting off the feat until tomorrow at Rifle, but I thought it would be really cool to do it at home in front of friends and family.”
Following the feat-clinching bucket, Grand Valley Head Coach Jake Higuera called timeout to allow the home crowd to shower Chenoweth in cheers as the PA announcer told the crowd what the star junior guard had just accomplished.
After the game, in which Grand Valley cruised to a 54-7 win over the visting Skiers, Chenoweth was presented with a game ball for her accomplishment while also taking photos with her teammates on the court.
Prior to the accomplishment, Chenoweth appeared to be letting the pressure get to her as the junior couldn’t dial in from 3-point range early in the first half, and often looked hesitant to shoot the ball with her early struggles.
A pep talk from Higuera midway through the first quarter seemed to settle Chenoweth into the game.
“I told her you’re shooting every shot like it’s your thousandth point,” Higuera said. “I told her to let the game come to her, because she’d be just fine. You could kind of tell that was a little relief for her. I wanted her to just relax and play, because when she does that she’s tough to stop.”
Starting off the game with the possibility of Chenoweth’s 1,000th career point happening on the night hung over the game, but the Cardinals came out fast against the Skiers as freshman guard Tabitha Call drilled a 3-pointer from the left corner to start the scoring on the night.
Chenoweth then hit a layup in transition to make it 5-0 before sophomore guard Jordyn Pittman found sophomore forward Loghan Teter on a pick and roll for an easy layup in the paint to stretch the Grand Valley lead to 7-0.
Chenoweth then split a pair of free throws before Call drilled another 3-point to make it 11-0 Grand Valley lead late in the first quarter. Chenoweth then capped off the quarter with a layup and the foul, sending the Cardinals into the second quarter with a 14-0 lead.
That’s when things went a bit sideways for the star junior guard. Chenoweth hit a layup to start the second quarter to give her 8 points in the game, but for the rest of the quarter she’d be held scoreless until a late layup just before the half to give her 10 points in the first half.
With Chenoweth struggling to find her shot in the first half, Teter did damage at the free throw line for the Cardinals, hitting 7-of-8 free throws, while Pittman added a runner and a 3-pointer to give the Cardinals a 30-0 lead at the break.
Coming out of the locker room for the start of the third quarter, Chenoweth caught fire and never looked back, starting the quarter off with a steal and a layup before Aspen’s Maeve McGuire hit the Skiers’ first bucket of the game at the 7:03 mark of the third quarter.
Following Aspen’s first points of the game, Chenoweth went on a personal 6-0 run to stretch the Grand Valley lead to 38-2 before Chenoweth then found senior guard Danielle Call on the fast break for a layup to make it 40-2.
Chenoweth then scored 6 straight points again before Aspen’s Julisa Vega split a pair of free throws to make it 47-3 Grand Valley.
Aspen’s Allie Forster then hit a layup for the Skiers but Chenoweth then hit two straight layups for the Cardinals, cracking the 1,000-point barrier for her career.
In the fourth quarter, the Cardinals were able to play backups for the final eight minutes of the game, cruising to the 54-7 win.
In the win, Chenoweth finished with 29 points, while Teter added 9 points and Tabitha Call added 6 points. Grand Valley (9-5, 3-2 3A WSL) will travel to Rifle Saturday evening for a nonconference matchup against the Bears at 4 p.m.
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