Paonia takes control in third quarter
PUEBLO — Making history was great last season for the Paonia High School girls basketball team.
The Eagles, however, do not want their second-place finish at the Class 2A state girls basketball tournament to be the best in school history anymore.
“Finishing second was a great accomplishment last year, but that made us only want to win state even more this year,” senior Grayson Pipher said. “We know this is our year to win it.”
The top-seeded Eagles made a strong statement Thursday, rolling past Holyoke 49-30 in a opening-round game at Colorado State University-Pueblo’s Massari Arena.
“Last year definitely helped us, especially since we returned nine of my top 12 players off of that team,” said Paonia coach Scott Rienks said, whose team lost to Wray 46-35 in the state finals in 2009. “We made some adjustments at half and we just wore Holyoke down with our defense in the second half.”
Paonia (23-1) advances to play Sangre de Cristo (18-6) at 7 tonight in a semifinal game. Holyoke dropped to 14-11 and into the consolation bracket. Sangre beat Sedgwick County 41-33 in an early game Thursday.
Paonia took control of the game early in the third quarter.
Leslie Trujillo, Jordyn Rienks and Pipher made consecutive buckets, powering the Eagles to a 27-12 lead with 6:11 left in the third. Holyoke would never threaten again.
“Coach Rienks told us some things we needed to work on in the second half, and we knew we could get the job done,” Pipher said. “We know we’re a second half team and we’re fueled by our defense. Everybody out there is giving 110 percent on defense to get our offense going.”
As good as the Eagles were on defense, Pipher was just as electric offensively, pouring in a game-high 21 points.
“Grayson is a very athletic player and she plays good defense and offense,” Rienks said. “A lot teams try to key on Johanna (Reed) and Jordyn (Rienks), and Grayson gets a lot of looks inside. The best thing about Grayson is that no one will out work her.”
Pawnee 53, Dove Creek 42: No. 4-seeded Pawnee had a big fourth quarter to top the Bulldogs in its opening-round game of the Class 1A state high school girls basketball tournament Thursday at the Colorado State Fair Events Center.
Adele Cass scored five of her 24 points for Pawnee in the fourth quarter and Deeona Johnston scored eight as the Coyotes dumped in 15 points to pull away.
Dove Creek managed only four points in the fourth as starters Sonja Strong and Kyli Banks both fouled out. Strong led the Bulldogs with 16 points and Banks added 12.
Dove Creek (21-4) plays Idalia at 11:45 a.m. today in the consolation semifinals.