Paonia’s push: Eagles survive tough battle, advance to 2A title game

Sangre de Cristo’s Megan Beiriger, left, battles for the ball with Paonia’s Johanna Reed on Friday night during the Eagles’ 36-32 victory in the Class 2A semifinals at Massari Arena in Pueblo.

PUEBLO — Sometimes teams have off nights.

Fortunately, for the Paonia High School girls basketball team it did just enough to keep its dream of winning state alive.

Jordyn Rienks scored 15 points as the Eagles survived a scare from Sangre de Cristo before capturing a 36-32 decision in a Class 2A semifinal game Friday night at Colorado State University-Pueblo’s Massari Arena.

“We definitely pushed the envelope out there,” Paonia coach Scott Rienks said. “We just didn’t execute defensively. It wasn’t until the very end of the game that we did what we had to in order to win.”

Paonia (24-2) advances to play Akron (21-4) at 5 p.m. today in the state title game. Paonia lost 46-35 to Wray in the state finals last year.

“We know we need to go out there against Akron and leave everything out there on the court,” said Jordyn Rienk’s, the coach’s daughter, who had a game-high 13 points. “This is our chance to win state. We do not want to let it slip away.”

A victory almost dodged the Eagles on Friday.

Sangre’s Kaily Yarbrough hit a jumper in the lane with 29 seconds left to get the Thunderbirds within 35-32. Sangre then forced a turnover with 27.3 seconds left, but Yarbrough’s 3-point attempt bounced off the back of the iron and over the backboard to end the possession.

On the next possession, Paonia’s Johanna Reed was fouled and she made one of two free throws, putting the Eagles ahead 36-32 with 14.4 seconds remaing.

Sangre’s Megan Beiriger launched two 3s in the waning seconds, but both were off the mark, securing Paonia’s victory.

“We had a good look at the 3-pointer and Kaily’s shot was just a little off the mark,” Sangre coach Brandon Brubacher said. “You hate to lose a game this way, it is tough to take.”

Coach Rienks realizes nothing will come easy for his squad today against Akron.

“We had trouble stopping Beiriger from penetrating, and Akron guard Sydney Clarkson is one of the best girls in the state in regards to penetrating defenses, so we’re going to have to be ready to play.”

Idalia 51, Dove Creek 41: Idalia’s Samantha Cure poured in 26 points Friday morning in the consolation bracket of the Class 1A state basketball tournament at the Colorado State Fair Events Center as the Wolves defeated Dove Creek in Pueblo.

The loss, the Bulldogs’ second of the tourney, ended their season at 21-5.

Dove Creek came into the tournament as the No. 5 seed, but lost to an experienced Pawnee team in the opening round and then fell victim Friday to Cure’s shooting.

Junior Kyli Banks nearly matched Cure’s output with 19 of her own for Dove Creek; senior post player Kayla Pribble added 11.

Idalia advanced to today’s consolation championship against Fleming.


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