Longhorns hand Cardinals first loss
PARACHUTE It’s hard to maintain a perfect record, especially when playing against the top team in the state – one that’s a class higher no less.And so the Grand Valley girls basketball team suffered its first loss of the year on Tuesday night, falling, 65-47, to top-ranked Basalt in a non-league game.Grand Valley, who’s now 9-1 and is ranked No. 3 in Class 2A, was right there with Basalt in the first half, but turnovers and Basalt offensive rebounds helped the 3A Longhorns (7-1) pull away. Basalt jumped out to an early 10-0 lead in the first quarter, but behind 14 first-half points from Kendall Babler, the Cardinals charged back to pull within three points at halftime.
In the second half, the Longhorns’ defense started to take over and made the Cardinals turn the ball over 15 times in the final two quarters. Sherry Mlakar hit a baseline 3-pointer to cut Basalt’s lead to 54-46 with 2 minutes, 30 seconds to go, but the Cardinals went on a scoring drought to close the game. Outside of a Kasi Jensen free throw, Grand Valley never scored again.Kat Fitzpatrick scored 16 points and came up with six steals, and Dayne Toney scored 17 before fouling out late in the game for the Longhorns, who were simply too much for the Cardinals. Melissa Stewart and Nicole Booth added some firepower off the bench, as Stewart added eight points and three steals in the second half and Booth totaled six points and six boards.”If I had an MVP ball, I would give it to Nicole Booth,” Basalt head coach Carolyn Compton said. “She had a great game off the bench and got some big offensive rebounds that kept us going.”Babler finished with 22 points, five rebounds and five assists before fouling out with one minute left. Whitney Ashcraft turned in eight points and grabbed five boards.”I was glad to get the competition,” Compton said. “The physical competition is good, but to know that we can handle the mental pressure, there was a huge mental game going on out there with that amount of foul calls out there, and I was glad to see my girls handle that.”
Grand Valley grabbed seven steals and hit four 3-pointers to cruise to a 22-13 lead at the end of the first quarter and never looked back in its 75-49 victory over Basalt on Tuesday night in Parachute.The Cardinalss finished with 13 3-pointers, whipping the ball around the perimeter and waiting for the open shot.”They hit several 3s against us,” Basalt head coach Jason Kreiling said. “We just didn’t get anyone out on them.”While five different Cardinals were successful from downtown, it was Tyler Jensen who was the hottest – connecting on five from long range. He led all scorers with 25 points.”Tyler Jensen had his best offensive game in a while,” Grand Valley head coach Scott Kiburis said. “He was a good floor leader out there, and it was good to see the ball getting passes around.”Michael Shepard hit three 3s off the bench, while William Waugh and Colton Cowan each drained two and Derek Witt sunk one.
The Cardinals made it hard on Basalt’s guards all night with their tough defense. Cowan had five steals, while Jensen and Jon Lantz each had three, hardly giving the Longhorns a chance to run through their offense.”We worked on our press, and I thought it was impressive,” Kiburis said.While Basalt had a noticeable size advantage with center Tylor Forman-Niko and forward Chaz Capobianco, the Longhorns big men were held to four points in the first half.”We definitely had the size advantage, but when you are matching two points to three points, it’s hard to get out of that hole,” Kreiling said.Foreman-Niko finished with 14 and Capobianco had 10.With the win, Grand Valley advanced to 8-1 overall and will next take on Class 2A Western Slope foe Paonia on Friday. “They are our league rival,” Kiburis said. “Coming into the season, it was us and them. … I know they will be ready to play us, and they beat us last year.”
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