Titans win overtime thriller over Cardinals
Whenever two of the more explosive offenses in the Western Slope League high school basketball meet up, the game is sure to be quite exciting.
At Grand Valley High School, Saturday, the Cardinals and the Coal Ridge Titans boys basketball teams didn’t disappoint as the two teams battled back and forth in an overtime affair that the Titans eventually pulled out on the road, 77-73, to move to 4-3 (3-0 3A Western Slope League) on the year.
With the loss the Cardinals fall to 5-2 (1-1 3A WSL).
Early on it looked like the Titans would run away and hide with a huge lead as they seemingly couldn’t miss from the floor, racing out to a 23-8 lead behind three 3-pointers from sophomore guard Brandon Herrera and 10 points from junior guard Hunter Gerber.
However, the Cardinals stopped the onslaught and pulled to within 26-14 after one quarter of play. From there, the comeback was on as Grand Valley senior guard John Parker got a driving layup to fall and sophomore forward Garrett Magee drilled a corner three to pull the Cardinals within seven to start the second quarter.
Coming off of the bench for the Titans, freshman forward Kevin DiMarco provided a huge spark for Coal Ridge as he got a putback to fall and then drew a foul on the next trip down, hitting one of two free throws to stretch the Titan lead to 10 again.
DiMarco drew another foul a few possessions later and hit both free throws, but Magee answered with another 3-pointer for Grand Valley. That’s when Cardinals senior forward Tanner Magee took over on the boards, ripping down multiple offensive rebounds to give Grand Valley second chance opportunities.
The senior forward scored four points of his own, but Gerber answered with a 3-pointer to put the Titans up 38-30 just before the half. A layup by Coal Ridge senior forward Greyson Keener and layups by Parker and junior guard Gunner Rigsby narrowed the Cardinal deficit to 40-34 at the half.
“We knew no lead was safe against Grand Valley with the amount of offense they have at their disposal,” said Titans head coach Paul Harvey. “I had a feeling they’d mount a comeback, and it didn’t help that we went into a cold stretch there where we were hoping to get shots to fall, but we just weren’t having as much success as we were early on.”
Following the break, the Cardinals came out on fire as senior guard Leoray Hernandez, Parker, Jeffrey Holbrook and Rigsby hit layups to pull the Cardinals within two midway through the third quarter.
Keener hit two layups to stretch the Titan lead again, but Parker added two layups and Tanner Magee got a layup to fall at the end of the quarter to head into the fourth quarter down just two, 51-49.
A layup by Garett Magee tied the game, but a deep three from Gerber and two free throws from freshman guard Jan Hernandez pushed the Titan lead to five early in the third quarter.
Grand Valley then mounted a quick comeback as Tanner Magee hit a tough layup and drew the foul, sinking the free throw to pull to within two.
Keener and Magee traded layups before DiMarco reentered and drew another foul, hitting two free throws. But once again Grand Valley bounced back as Tanner Magee hit a putback off of another offensive rebound.
On the very next offensive possession, Rigsby drilled a deep 3-pointer in transition to give the Cardinals their first lead of the game, 61-60, with just 1:28 left in the fourth quarter.
Not to be outdone, Gerber answered with a driving layup in traffic that fell, drawing the foul while giving the Titans a 62-61 lead late. Gerber sank the ensuing free throw to go up two.
Senior guard Jake Solinger then drew the foul but hit just one of two free throws, which led to an incredible 3-pointer by Parker from the wing on the throw-in that swished through the net at the buzzer, tying the game and sending the gymnasium into pandemonium.
After things settled down and the teams headed into overtime, it was Keener who took over for the Titans, scoring five points in the extra session to lead the Titans to the 77-73 win.
“Greyson plays with so much heart and emotion that I knew once he was good to go (after being poked in the eye) that he was going to give us a major lift,” Harvey said. “He made it a point that every rebound was going to be his, and he nearly did that at both ends.”
For Coal Ridge, Gerber finished with 22 points, while Keener finished with 17 points.
Parker led the Cardinals with 24 points, while Tanner Magee added 18 points.
Grand Valley girls 75, Coal Ridge girls 31
Behind 34 points from freshman guard Shaya Chenowerth, 17 points from junior guard Kylyn Rigsby and 15 points from junior forward Hailey Rowe, the Grand Valley Cardinals rolled to their second 3A Western Slope League win of the season.
Early on the two teams traded points in a tight first quarter, but in the second quarter it was all Chenowerth, Rigsby and Rowe as the Cardinals pulled away using a physical defense and a very productive transition offense to run away from the Titans.
For Coal Ridge, junior guard Alexys Holder led the team with six points, while junior forward Natalie Dougherty and freshman guard Kashley Morgan added five points each.
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Area prep basketball teams begin their 2019-20 campaigns with tournament action both home and away this weekend.