Olathe girls undefeated in basketball

The Olathe High School girls basketball team had to face reality.

The Pirates had to acknowledge, and accept, that they haven’t lost a game this season.

Olathe raced to a 7-0 record, but played two close games the weekend of Jan. 8-9 against Grand Valley and Gunnison. After the scares, Olathe coach Paul Althaus decided it was time to have “the talk.”

“We didn’t play up to our potential so I said, ‘I’m going to say it and we are going to leave it,’ ” Althaus said. “We can’t play like we don’t want to lose. We have to go out and have fun.”

Seemingly inspired by the speech, the Pirates rattled off five straight wins and are 12-0, 9-0 in the Class 3A Western Slope League. Olathe has defeated each of its league opponents heading into the final six games of the conference season.

Olathe had another close call last weekend, defeating Cedaredge 37-35 on Friday and knocking off Coal Ridge 44-43 on Saturday.

“These kids are a strong unit,” Althaus said. “This is probably the best team I’ve had.”

Althaus, in his seventh season, is enjoying the Pirates’ success.

“It had been a tough go for us,” Althaus said. “We had a couple years where we didn’t win a league game.”

Things started to change, and in 2009 the Pirates finished atop the WSL regular season for the first time 12 years. With the regular season title clinched, Olathe planned on winning the district tournament at Palisade High School, then hosting a regional. Things didn’t exactly go as planned — Olathe lost twice in the tournament, then lost to Estes Park in a regional.

“That woke these girls up about what’s important,” Althaus said. “You want to get yourself a home regional and move on from there. From that moment that’s been our goal. Sure, we want to win league, but we want that district tournament.”

Olathe lost only two players off last season’s team, although the Pirates are still young. Althaus starts one senior, two juniors and two sophomores.

Juniors Emily Brummitt and Morgan Stansberry both average more than 10 points per game.

“Both of those kids are strong rebounders and work very hard,” Althaus said. “They have to play against bigger kids and always hold their own.”

The Pirates’ lone senior starter is Bretta Prosser, with sophomores Kylie Tate and Tawni Middleton rounding out the starting lineup.

“We have a real balanced attack,” Althaus said. “We have four kids that can lead us in scoring any night.”

The Waiting

Weather hurt the Fruita Monument and Central high school basketball teams when inclement weather prevented Montezuma-Cortez and Durango from traveling last weekend.

Central boys coach Phil Cain said his team used the extra time to get in a few practices. The Warriors return to action tonight against Grand Junction and Thursday against Montrose. The Tigers and Indians played each other last weekend, but Cain was hesitant to scout the game.

“I don’t know, I saw Fruita maybe too much,” Cain said, referring to a 59-40 loss earlier this season to the Wildcats. “We saw them in parts of seven games and we struggled against them, so right now we really need to focus on improving on what we do.”

referee recognition

Burkie Wynkoop of Battlement Mesa was recently inducted into the Colorado Football Officials Association Hall of Fame. Wynkoop worked out of Craig during his 21 years of officiating.

He worked the 1985 Class 2A state championship game between Roaring Fork and Basalt, along with many games in Grand Junction and Montrose. Wynkoop retired in 1995.


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