SPORTS STORIES OF 2010: Playing as a team nets Paonia girls basketball championship
It was a dream season for the Paonia High School girls basketball team.
The Eagles won the 2010 girls state basketball championship with a 43-39 victory over Akron on March 13 at Massari Arena on the campus of CSU-Pueblo.
Paonia’s title was voted the No. 7 local sports story of 2010.
The Eagles had to work a little magic to win the title, trailing the Rams 36-28 with 3:49 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Paonia responded with a 13-2 run to take the lead, 39-38.
Once it had the lead, Paonia wasn’t giving it up. The Eagles’ Johanna Reed and Jordyn Rienks nailed free throws down the stretch to put the game away.
“It was the way it was meant to be,” Paonia coach Scott Rienks said of the fantastic finish to the game. “It showed we were a team, and we weren’t playing as well as we could have, but came together when we needed to.”
The Eagles lost in the finals the previous season, but with eight seniors returning, Paonia knew it had a shot.
Paonia lost its third game of the season, 48-35 to Olathe, but didn’t lose again, rattling off 23 straight victories.
“Not one of the girls cared about how many points they scored,” Rienks said. “They had great team unity and it was all about the team.”
The Eagles showed their depth in the championship game when senior starters Grayson Pipher and Leslie Trujillo both fouled out in the fourth quarter.
Rienks called on freshmen Ce’rra Carsten and Abby Campbell to finish the game.
“It was a very special group,” Rienks said.
Jordyn Rienks and Pipher are now playing college basketball, Rienks at University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and Pipher at Mesa State College.
Scott Rienks said he loved being able to share the experience of winning a state title with his daughter and eight seniors, but added it wasn’t too long before he had moved onto this season.
“It was strange, because two days after the tournament my sophomore point guard and I were talking about this year,” Rienks said.