Grand Valley girls cruise to easy win over Aspen |

Grand Valley girls cruise to easy win over Aspen

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Jordan Curet Aspen Times

ASPEN ” Grand Valley’s Erin Vanderpool was on the bench nearly as much as she was on the court in the first half Friday night in Aspen. The junior still managed to make the Skiers miserable.

Vanderpool picked off Aspen passes on two consecutive possessions and scored in transition midway through the second quarter to give the Cardinals a six-point cushion. In the third, she scored twice in the paint as Grand Valley turned a tight game into a rout. The Skiers scored just four points in the third, hit four field goals in the final 16 minutes and turned the ball over 31 times in a 51-25 loss ” their sixth straight.

“We struggled to control their pressure tonight, and that really was the difference in the game,” Aspen coach Jeremy Haack said. “We got frustrated and made some bad decisions at times.”

Those struggles began in earnest midway through the second quarter when the Skiers failed to hit a field goal in the final 4 minutes, 36 seconds. They turned the ball over 16 times in the first 16 minutes. Grand Valley front-line mates Vanderpool and Kasi Jensen combined for seven points in the final 2:34 and 11 in the second as the Cardinals stretched a 7-6 lead after one into a 21-14 halftime advantage.

“Once we settled down and played our game, we took control of the pace and tempo of the game,” Grand Valley head coach Mike Johnson said. “Past the first four or five minutes, we really competed.”

While the Skiers went scoreless for the third quarter’s first three-plus minutes, the Cardinals seized control. Shannon Schubert scored in transition, Jensen hit two free throws and Shawnee Young banked in a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give Grand Valley a 28-14 cushion.

Freshman Bailey Everhart finally ended the Aspen drought when she scored underneath with 4:20 to play. She later pulled down an offensive rebound and scored moments before the buzzer. In between, Vanderpool and Young scored twice and the Cardinals strung together 10 consecutive points. They led, 40-18, heading to the fourth.

Vanderpool picked off a pass and finished in transition as Grand Valley scored the first six points of the fourth. She led all scorers with 15 points.

“[Vanderpool] is really tough on defense and she gets out well on the break,” Johnson said. “When she’s in there, she sure provides some defensive and offensive punch for us.”

The Skiers, mired in their second losing streak of at least five games this season, didn’t hit a field goal in the final quarter until Rebecca Dolores and Lindsey Anderson hit back-to-back shots with less than three minutes remaining. Anderson, the team’s leading scorer, was held to four points. Dolores and Everhart combined for 18 for the Skiers, who did not hit a 3 and shot 19 percent from the floor (9-of-46).

Jensen finished with 11 and Young chipped in with seven for the Cardinals, who have won two straight.

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