White’s big fourth quarter helps Titans down Cardinals | PostIndependent.com

White’s big fourth quarter helps Titans down Cardinals

Coal Ridge's Kevin DiMarco (left) and Payton White jump to block the shot by Grand Valley guard Brenden Hagerty during Tuesday night's game at Coal Ridge High School.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent |

Coal Ridge junior forward Payton White made sure the Titans boys basketball team wasn’t going to lose Tuesday’s home rivalry game with the visiting Grand Valley Cardinals.

The junior scored 8 fourth-quarter points, ripped down four rebounds and dished out four assists in the final eight minutes of play, leading the Titans to a pivotal 68-59 win over the rival Cardinals in 3A Western Slope League action. On the night, White finished with 14 points, good for a share of the team-high with junior center Kevin DiMarco.

“He’s been steadily improving every game, it seems like,” Coal Ridge Head Coach Paul Harvey said following the game. “The key to him and his game is that he’s so calm. Emotionally, he would get a little wound up last year, but that’s not the case this year. He’s making plays and playing with a ton of confidence. We’ve seen this stuff in open gym, we knew it was there, but in games it wasn’t showing through until a couple of games ago where he just had a breakthrough, and his game has really taken off. He’s athletic, has great hands, can shoot, can jump and plays great defense as well.”

Prior to White’s steady play in the fourth quarter, the Titans cruised to a nine point lead at the half, 33-24. Senior point Brandon Herrera, junior guard Jan Hernandez and White poured in 6 first-half points each, with all three hitting one 3-pointer in the opening 16 minutes of action. Coal Ridge raced out to an 11-2 lead on the night as DiMarco hit a layup in the paint off of a pick-and-roll with Herrera before senior guard Brody Morgan added a layup, leading to White’s 3-pointer from the right wing. The Cardinals would battle back at the end of the first quarter to make it 15-10 heading into the second as senior guard Brenden Hagerty hit two layups in transition and senior guard Jeff Holbrook stole the ball and raced in for a layup to pull Grand Valley back into the game.

The Cardinals went on a 7-0 run early in the second quarter to tie the game at 17-17 as Hagerty hit a triple, senior guard Justin Smith came off the bench to hit a layup and senior guard Kade Hurst hit a runner in the lane, but Hernandez rattled home a 3-pointer at the other end for the Titans before the junior guard and White split a pair of free throws to make 22-17 Coal Ridge.

A layup from Hernandez and a triple from Herrera stretched the Titan lead to 27-17, allowing the Titans to cost into the half at 33-24.

Coming out of the break, the Cardinals traded buckets early with the Titans as senior guard Garett Magee started the second half with a tough layup in traffic for Grand Valley before DiMarco answered for the Titans with a bucket at the other end. A layup from Hurst and two free throws from junior center Indra Griggs made it 35-30 Coal Ridge, but the Titans stretched the lead back to nine points off of driving layups from Herrera and Hernandez.

That’s when the tide turned in favor of the Cardinals, as Griggs sank two free throws, while Smith and Hurst hit shots in the paint. Trailing 39-36, Hurst hit a runner in the lane to pull the Cardinals to within one point, but Coal Ridge senior Connor Detlefsen hit a tough shot in the paint off of an assist from White to make it 41-38 Titans.

Grand Valley responded with a 4-0 run off of a jumper from Smith and two free throws from Magee with 1:53 left in the third quarter to give the Cardinals their first lead of the game since 2-0. Magee’s two free throws forced a quick Coal Ridge timeout.

“I called the timeout, and I don’t like calling them to bail the kids out,” Harvey said. “But we needed a moment; they got kind of hot there. I told the kids to keep playing. We knew it would come down to defense, so we had to clean up the rebounding. Grand Valley hit some shots; they’re a great team. You can’t keep them down forever. So we told the kids to trust the system because it works.”

Following the timeout, Herrera splashed home a 3-pointer from the left wing with a hand in his face to give the Titans a 44-42 lead heading into the fourth quarter of play, leading to White’s steady play.

White found DiMarco on a pick-and-roll to the rim to start the quarter, before the junior found Detlefsen in the post for another layup, giving the Titans a 48-45 lead.

On the Titans’ next possession, White skied for a rebound over the top of a Cardinal defender and got the putback shot to fall to make it 50-45 Titans.

Magee answered with a runner at the other end, but White again found Detlefsen rolling to the hoop for an easy layup. After dishing the ball for an assist, White took the ball to the hoop himself on the next trip down and got the shot to fall before splitting two free throws, giving the Titans a 55-47 lead.

“I just wanted to work hard and make sure that we got the win,” White said following the game. “This one meant a lot, not only because Grand Valley is a rivalry team, but because this game meant a lot in the RPI system as well. I was trying to find my game a little bit more in the fourth quarter because I knew it had faded a bit in the second and third.”

Hurst stopped the quick Titan run with a coast-to-coast layup at other end, but DiMarco then re-entered the game and ripped off four straight points with a layup through contact and two free throws, allowing the Titans to stretch their lead to 59-49 midway through the fourth quarter. Grand Valley fought hard to keep within striking distance as Magee hit a layup through contact and hit the ensuing free throws to make it a seven point game, but White went 3-for-4 from the free throw line, while DiMarco added two free throws of his own from the charity stripe to make it 64-52 Titans.

A runner from Hurst and a 3-pointer from Laytham Magana pulled the Cardinals to within seven points again at 64-57, but Hernandez went 3-for-4 from the free throw line to close out the game as Hurst hit a layup at the horn to cap off the final score.

In the win, White and DiMarco led the Titans with 14 points each, while Herrera and Hernandez added 11 points each from the backcourt. Detlefsen chipped in with 8 points off the bench for the Titans (11-2, 4-0 3A WSL).

Hurst led the way for the Cardinals with 16 points, while Magee recorded 12 points. Hagerty scored 9 points — all in the first half — while Smith added 7 points off the bench for Grand Valley (11-2, 2-2 3A WSL).

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Coal Ridge 53, Grand Valley 47

Despite allowing a game-high 30 points to Grand Valley junior guard Shaya Chenoweth, the Coal Ridge Titans girls basketball team rallied from a late third-quarter deficit to pick up a big 53-47 3A Western Slope League win on its home floor over the rival Cardinals Tuesday night in New Castle.

Chenoweth scored 14 points in the first quarter before being limited to just 16 points over the final three quarters of play as the Titans’ defense cracked down on the uber-talented junior, allowing the fast Coal Ridge offense to push the pace late, as freshman center Taylor Wiescamp and sophomore forward Lyanna Navarez took over in the fourth quarter to power the Titans to the win.

“It was a huge game for us tonight,” Coal Ridge Head Coach Clyde Morgan said. “They were 10th in the state coming into tonight, so this proves to the girls that we can play with anybody in our league. We’ve played some tight games this season but been on the other end of them. Our shooting has been killing us the last few games, but tonight we hit our shots when it counted.”

Right from the jump this game was poised to be an entertaining one as both teams seemingly couldn’t miss from the field. Wiescamp started the game with a layup for the Titans before Chenoweth went off for the Cardinals, going 5-for-7 from the free throw line in the opening quarter while also hitting one 3-pointer and three layups in the first eight minutes of the game. But credit to the Titans, who answered nearly every bucket from Chenoweth. Wiescamp and junior guard Sam Dunn sank two free throws each in the first quarter, while junior guard Kashley Morgan banked home a 3-pointer and split a pair of free throws. Junior guard Adriana Varges got hot in the first quarter for the Titans, sinking two jumpers to send the two teams into the second quarter with the Cardinals holding 17-14 lead.

Dunn opened the second quarter with two more free throws before senior guard Santana Martinez hit a jumper from the elbow to give the Titans an 18-17 lead.

Chenoweth answered with a steal and a layup before Varges canned another jumper for the Titans, keeping Coal Ridge narrowly in front at 20-17.

From there, the Titans went on a 5-0 run as Martinez split a pair of free throws, while junior guard Alyssa Wenzel and senior center Jessica Feese hit shots for the Titans, giving Coal Ridge a 25-19 lead over the Cardinals.

Grand Valley closed the half on a 5-2 run as freshman Tabitha Call hit two free throws and sophomore guard Jordyn Pittman split two free throws to send the two teams into the half with the Titans holding a 27-24 lead.

In the second half, the Titans and Cardinals continued to trade shots throughout the third quarter before a 3-pointer from Call gave the Cardinals their first lead since early in the second quarter, 39-38. Feese answered with a putback bucket to give the Titans a lead again, but a 3-pointer from Chenoweth just before the end of the third quarter gave Grand Valley a 42-40 lead heading into the final eight minutes of action.

Opening up the fourth quarter, Coal Ridge went on a 11-0 run to take a 51-42 lead as Varges hit a layup, Wiescamp split a pair of free throws and sank a mid-range jumper. Navarez curled under a leaping Grand Valley defender for a layup before Wiescamp hit a putback shot in the paint with three defenders around. Navarez then capped off the run with a jumper from the right block, forcing a Grand Valley timeout.

Following the stoppage, Pittman hit a layup in transition for the Cardinals, and Chenoweth would cap off a 3-point play following a layup in traffic, but it would be too little, too late as Wiescamp capped off the thrilling win for the Titans with a putback late in the quarter, again over a host of defenders.

Wiescamp led the Titans with 16 points, while Varges poured in 14 points for the Titans (6-8, 1-3 3A WSL). Chenoweth led the Cardinals (8-5, 2-2 3A WSL) with 30 points, while Call added 9 points — all from beyond the arc.