Titans split games with Pirates | PostIndependent.com

Titans split games with Pirates

Baron Zahuranec
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

PEACH VALLEY, Colorado ” What started as a blowout in the first quarter turned into a nail-biting finish. The home team Coal Ridge Titans wished the ending was in their favor for the girls game against the Olathe Pirates after the start they had. They ended up losing 44-42.

The Titans built an 11-2 lead after one quarter of play, blanking the Pirates for the first seven-plus minutes of the game. Their defense didn’t let any passes get into the paint for easy shots, and around the perimeter the Titans had a hand in the face of whoever the Pirates’ shooter was. The Pirates shot just 1-of-9 from the floor, but that was all about to change over the next two quarters.

In the second, Olathe hit its jumpers and foul shots and tied the game at 13 with just under three minutes until halftime. Coal Ridge had two buckets from Morgan Jessup and two free throws from Mikaela Guettler to give them a 19-16 lead at halftime.

“We knew this would be a tough game,” Pirates coach Paul Althaus said. “It took the first quarter for us to wake up and step up the tempo. In the third quarter we pretty much took over, but the second got us back in the game.”

The third period was the Titans undoing; they only tallied six points to Olathe’s 17.

“They outplayed us,” Titans coach Rick Schmitz said. “They were more aggressive and more physical. They defended better. We just have to take care of the ball better and be better in our half-court sets.”

Down by eight points going into the last quarter, the Titans trimmed that lead to four points with 55.7 seconds remaining, and that’s when it came down to who could hit shots from the charity stripe.

The lead was a slim two-points for the Pirates after Kaitlin Moeller drained two free-throws with 48 seconds left to play. Briana Vigil made it a three-point game when she hit the front end of her foul shots the next time down the court.

The teams traded a couple foul shots, and a lay in by Coal Ridge’s Matraisa Beecraft put them down just one with eight seconds showing on the clock.

Kelsi Middleton was at the line for Olathe with 2.3 seconds left, and after making the first, she missed the second. With Coal Ridge down by two now, and not having the benefit of a stopped clock, a desperation heave from the opposite foul line came up short for the Titans.

Titans point guard Kelly Romero knew her team had to play a solid game from the starting tip to the final buzzer. She didn’t think the loss came down to the last quarter, but how they played the whole game.

“I think that it wasn’t at the end of the game, it was in the second quarter that they took over,” she said. “They were the aggressor and did what they wanted.”

They girls are at Cedaredge on Friday. To come out of there with a win the Titans can’t commit as many fouls and have to move more on their feet, Schmitz said.

They like to get a lot of shots up into the air. The way the Titan boys think, the more shots attempted means more shots that have a chance at going in.

With dribble-drive penetration the Coal Ridge boys found the open man for the shot, and that got them a 79-59 win over the Pirates.

“We didn’t stop the penetrate and dish, and that’s what they do really well,” Pirates coach Vic Kintz said.

Andy Smedra’s hot hand got the ball rolling for the Titans, draining nine points in the first quarter to help give them a 15-10 lead. He finished with 23 points to lead Coal Ridge. Actually, it wasn’t just in the first when he was hot. He scored the first Titans bucket in the first three quarters.

“I was feeling good,” Smedra said with a slight smile on his face. “The only reason I had looks is because of my teammates penetrating and dishing to me. The team did a good job of creating shots for other people.”

Along with Smedra’s three 3-pointers, fellow guard Eric Schmitz showered five 3s on Olathe. Schmitz had 21 points on the evening.

The Titans had a 40-30 lead at halftime, and opened the third with nine straight points.

“That third quarter run, and some adjustments in our press gave them fits,” Titans coach Paul Harvey said.

They finished the third with a 23-point lead, and despite making just three baskets in the fourth quarter, they were all three balls, two from Schmitz.

“We definitely improved on out shooting from a couple of nights ago,” Titan center Alex Klein said. “We played as a team, not one-on-one. Running our offense, we were breaking them down and kicking it out; keeping them on their toes.”

The boys face the Bruins on Friday. They’ll work on getting back on defense and establishing rebounding position this week in practice, Harvey said.

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