Injured Cordova leads Rifle to 3A district title
Cortney Cordova’s wrist was hurting, but she wasn’t going to miss the district championship game for it.
The Rifle High School senior played with a sprained wrist, but was able to lead the Bears to a 49-41 victory Saturday over Olathe in the Class 3A Western Slope League district finals at Palisade High School.
“The team wanted me there,” Cordova said. “I would’ve felt bad if I wasn’t there. The team’s always been there for me, so I might as well be there for them.”
Instead of carrying the scoring load — she was scoreless in the first half and finished with 10 points — Cordova worked to get her teammates involved.
Tresa Berner and Racheal Keithley each scored nine points, Makayla Wilkins added eight and Jasmine Figueira chipped in seven.
“I knew my girls were going to step up,” Rifle coach Stephanie Heald said. “When I called Cortney (Saturday) morning and she said, ‘I’m playing coach.’ I knew she would do everything she could and she did. She was a little hesitant the first half, but her teammates really came around.”
Morgan Stansberry led Olathe with 15 points before fouling out. Tawni Middleton scored 10, Emily Brummitt had eight and Kylie Tait scored seven.
“We couldn’t get anything going offensively, that’s what hurt us,” Olathe coach Paul Althaus said. “Our shots weren’t falling and we weren’t crashing the offensive boards like we needed to and that hurt us.”
Rifle (22-0) built a 17-11 lead early in the second quarter, but Olathe (18-4) answered with an 11-2 run to take a 22-19 lead at halftime.
“We know when we’re down, we can come back and win,” Cordova said. “Some of our heads were down. Our coach had a talk with us and we just picked our head up.”
Cordova hit a 3-pointer to get the Bears going in the second half. By the end of the third quarter, Rifle led 35-32 and never let go of the lead.
The Bears attacked the basket in the fourth quarter, going to the free-throw line six times and hitting 6 of 11 foul shots.
On one possession, Cordova grabbed an offensive rebound, scored, was fouled and hit the free throw for a 46-36 lead with under three minutes left. She hit two more foul shots with 35 seconds left to go up by seven.
The Bears hit 16 of 25 free throws in the game.
Gunnison 52, Coal Ridge 30: The Cowboys got off to a quick start and didn’t let up to take third place.
Alyssa Nelson led Gunnison (15-6) with 19 points. Chasity Gonzales and Ashlie Bowles each scored seven for the Titans (14-8).
Both teams advance to the regional round later this week, but will likely play on the road.
Basalt 36, Grand Valley 33: The Longhorns outlasted Grand Valley to take fifth place and qualify for regionals.
Jamie Matherly led Basalt (7-12) with 14 points. Haley Johnson led the Cardinals (8-14) with nine.