Olathe girls rally to beat Grand Valley
The Olathe High School girls basketball team had seen enough of Grand Valley’s 3-point shooting clinic Friday night. Those shots that Ashlynn Speakmann and company were burying often were taken with no regard for the step or two they were behind the 3-point arc.
The Cardinals had time. They had space. They were shooting in rhythm.
And in the second half, Olathe made sure Grand Valley had none of the elements that netted the Cardinals six 3-pointers and a 26-20 halftime lead.
Along with that, Olathe found some offensive rebounding that helped it rally to a 46-39 win in the Class 3A Western Slope League District tourney semifinals at Palisade High School.
Now, Olathe is back in familiar territory, playing for the district championship at 2 p.m. today. Its opponent will be Moffat County, a 39-38 victor over Roaring Fork in Friday’s other semifinal.
“I think our girls grew up a lot tonight,” Olathe coach Paul Althaus said. “They hadn’t been challenged like they were tonight.”
The turnaround started with the defensive effort, especially on the perimeter.
“They showed the intensity and the desire to really step it up,” Althaus said. “In the first half we were helping too much, sagging off. ... In the second half, we said we had to be on them tighter.”
Olathe senior Haley Turley echoed her coach.
“We definitely stepped up our intensity, stayed on our girl on defense,” said Turley, who led the Pirates with 16 points. “We just played with a lot more intensity all over the floor.”
After Grand Valley took a 32-24 lead with about five minutes left in the third quarter, Olathe took over, denying the Cardinals another field goal until 1:01 remained in the game. The Pirates scored three putback baskets in the third quarter, including two during a run of five straight possessions that ended with baskets, the last one tying the game at 32-32.
Haley Johnson made two free throws to put Grand Valley up 34-32, but that was the last lead for the Cardinals.
Olathe made Grand Valley foul during the final three minutes and responded by making seven of eight free throws, led by Turley, who made all six of her foul shots.