Olathe wins 3A district title
Sometimes one core group is enough to spark a dynasty.
Over the course of their careers, seniors Brenda Suarez, Kylie Tait, Tawni Middleton and Bethany Cox have led the Olathe High School girls basketball team to a 55-3 league record. After a 47-30 victory over Rifle on Saturday at Palisade High School, they have their second Class 3A Western Slope District championship in three years.
“I’m just so proud of everything they have done over the years,” coach Paul Althaus said. “They put in the work in the offseason.
“It’s a great feeling and just one of our goals. We wanted to win our league, district and eventually the regional so we can be in Fort Collins (for the state tournament).”
Olathe (20-2) capped an undefeated league season with a district title behind double-digit performances from Tait and Middleton. Middleton, who averages 18.5 points per game, scored 18 and Tait led the Pirates with 19.
The Pirates recorded 15 steals and used defensive intensity to overpower Rifle (18-4). A full-court press limited Rifle to fewer than 10 points in each quarter.
“We really worked for it,” Cox said. “Our mentality defensively is that no one will score on us if we work hard.”
“It’s an attitude with the kids,” Althaus said. “They just love playing the game, whether it’s during the season or in the summer.”
The Pirates knew what they had to do to beat the Bears.
“Specifically against Rifle, we worked on our low post defense because we knew they were going to work it down low,” Althaus said.
“We knew they were going to use (Chante) Church because she’s a great athlete,” Althaus said. “Defense has been our trademark for many years and that benefitted us against Rifle.”
Grand Valley 61, Gunnison 40: The Cardinals (12-10) took third place behind the shooting of Haley Johnson.
Johnson scored a season-high 19 points with four 3-pointers and went 5 for 10 from the free-throw line to help the Cardinals top Gunnison (7-15).
Roaring Fork 45, Hotchkiss 34: The Rams (14-8) downed Hotchkiss (8-13) in the fifth-place gane. Roaring Forkwas led by Megan Gianinetti’s 13 points.
Aspen (18-4) won its fourth district championships in the past five years, pulling away from Roaring Fork 47-37 in the title game.
In the past 10 years, Aspen and Roaring Fork (15-7) have combined to win nine district titles.
The rivalry added another chapter when Aspen, powered by a 7-0 run in the first quarter, pulled away from the Rams.
Despite never leading, Roaring Fork came within four points early in the fourth quarter before back-to-back 3-pointers sealed the double-digit win.
“They sure made a run at it and made it exciting,” Aspen coach Steve Ketchum said. “Hats off to them, but we just hung in there at the end.”
Austin Roark and Jake Nugent led Aspen with 14 and 12 points, respectively. Trae Moxley had a double-double for Roaring Fork with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Coal Ridge 71, Rifle 51: The battle of the brothers, with Darik and Trenton Brown on opposing sides, ended with Coal Ridge topping Rifle in the third-place game.
Separated by only four points at halftime, Coal Ridge (10-12) pulled away by holding Rifle (9-14) to nine points in the third quarter.
Darik Brown led Coal Ridge with 19 points, going 4-6 from the line. Taylor Webb led Rifle with 13 points and Trenton Brown scored 11 for the Bears.
Olathe 56, Grand Valley 39: The Pirates (15-7) dominated Grand Valley in the post to win the fifth-place game.
Richard Tafoya led the Pirates with 16 points. Olathe held Grand Valley (13-9) to six points in the first quarter and never trailed.