Grand Valley never gives up in loss to Coal Ridge

PALISADE ­— The Grand Valley boys basketball team doesn’t give up, but Coal Ridge coach Paul Harvey already knew that going into Friday’s 3A Western Slope League semifinal game.

“I know those kids very well having coached them for three years,” Harvey said after the Titans’ 49-44 win at Palisade High School.

“I know they never quit, they are scrappy and they have a tradition of winning those games. I was nervous.”

The Cardinals fell behind early as Coal Ridge started the game with an 11-5 run, hitting early 3-pointers Grand Valley couldn’t match.

“That game could have been a 30-point game as badly as we shot,” Grand Valley coach Mark Cowan said. “Offensively we tried to get it going and we just didn’t tonight.”

Although Cardinals never held a lead in the game, they made it close, pulling within two points with 2:23 left in the fourth quarter.

However, Coal Ridge was able to keep the lead because of timely free throw shooting by senior guard Eric Schmitz, who hit six straight free throws in the final two and a half minutes.

“Eric is consistent,” Harvey said. “He’s got a pure stroke and he can definitely shoot.”

“It was nice that he finally made some because we sputtered and missed a few before that with some of the other guys.”

Schmitz scored 26 of Coal Ridge’s points,  hitting six 3-pointers and making two free throws.

Also helping the Titans was forward Adam Klein, who stood in the post and limited Michael Shepard, the leading scorer for Grand Valley to only four points.

“One of our offenses is a layup offense because that’s what we can make,” Cowan said. “(Klein) obviously had his hand on it a lot.”

Colton Cowan led the Cardinals with 19 points and was part of a rally in the third quarter that brought the Cardinals within reach.

Aspen 67, Gunnison 48

• Aspen used balanced attack on offense to beat Gunnison.

The No. 1-seeded Skiers had four players score in double-figures for a 67-48 win over the
No. 4-seeded Cowboys in the semifinals of the Class 3A district tournament.

Aspen coach Steve Ketchum was pleased with the effort from the players.

“I was so proud of the kids, they played so well together,” Ketchum said. “We had tremendous balance with four kids and almost five scoring in double figures, you can’t ask for much more.”

Trevor Watson led the team with 16 points and Matthew Holmes scored 14.

In a losing effort, Conner Coleman led the Cowboys with 20 points. Ketchum praised Coleman after the game.

“He played phenomenal, he was an animal in there, we really struggled against him,” he said.

Aspen faces Coal Ridge at 5:45 p.m. for the title at Palisade High School and Gunnison plays for third at 2:15 p.m. against Grand Valley.


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