Paonia stars taking game to next level in basketball

College coaches don’t overlook high school success.

Paonia High School basketball players Grayson Pipher and Jordyn Rienks both know plenty about winning.

The post players helped lead Paonia to the Class 2A state championship this past season. Wednesday they signed their national letters of intent and plan to carry their success to the next level.

Pipher will play for Roger Walters at Mesa State College and Rienks is on her way to play for Steve Kirkham at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.

Pipher was already planning to attend Mesa State, where her father, Chuck, is the wrestling coach. Scott Rienks said Pipher has some room to grow, but has a solid work ethic.

“She’s always worked so hard,” Scott Rienks said. “We worked on slowing her down, and (her senior season) she got smarter on the court and did so many good things.”

Pipher said she’s looking forward to getting on the court, and anticipates learning plenty from Walters and assistant coach Mary Doane.

“I want to get as much as I can from this experience,” Pipher said. “I want to be a coach someday so I’m hoping to soak up a lot from this.”

Jordyn Rienks is fulfilling a life-long aspiration by signing with UCCS.

“It’s always been a goal for her to play in college,” Scott Rienks said. “She’s been around basketball so long.”

Also helping Jordyn Rienks’ decision was that Kirkham was one of her dad’s coaching mentors, and many of the schemes Rienks uses came from the former Mesa State coach.

“She thinks the world of Roger (Walters), but I’ve known coach Kirkham for 20 years,” Scott Rienks said. “A lot of the stuff I run is from him, and Jordyn felt comfortable going there with some experience in his system.”

Going into a familiar system will help the 6-foot Rienks, who figures she’ll be moving to guard for the Mountain Lions.

“I know a lot about the system so that should help in my transition from high school post to college guard,” she said.

Kirkham gets a player who has benefitted from being a coach’s daughter. Scott Rienks said Jordyn’s strength on the court is her basketball IQ.

“She understands the game really well,” Rienks said. “Both Roger and Steve said they saw that.”


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