Third time’s the charm for Grand Valley
Grand Valley wins Class 3A district title over nemesis
The score was tied 15-15 at the end of the first quarter, which made sense.
Coal Ridge and Grand Valley played two extremely close boys basketball games during the regular season with Coal Ridge winning both: 77-73 in overtime, then 56-54 in their second meeting.
Round 3 was smacking of “Here we go again” through one quarter and the first few possessions of the second quarter.
But Grand Valley decided it had seen enough of close contests with the Titans. The Cardinals gained some separation in the second quarter for a 35-29 lead at the half, then continued pulling away for a 73-54 win in the Class 3A Western Slope District championship game.
“I think we were extremely focused today,” Cardinals senior Tanner Magee said. “I could tell when we walked into the gym. We wanted it. I mean, I’m sure they wanted it, too, but we wanted this for ourselves and for this community.”
Grand Valley coach Scott Parker saw the same thing from his players.
“I think our kids just played confident today,” he said. “We played our tempo today. We were able to get out and run. Our kids were confident in their abilities and just went out and played.”
Parker said his team didn’t show the Titans (15-7) anything they hadn’t seen before from Grand Valley (19-3). The Cardinals “just executed what we do,” he said. “That’s getting stops on defense, getting out in transition, sharing the ball. When we do that, we’re a pretty good ball club.”
Gunner Rigsby and Magee did the heavy lifting on offense in the first half for the Cardinals as Rigsby made four 3-pointers and tallied 17 points through two quarters. Magee added nine points in the first half.
In the third quarter, Grand Valley senior John Parker finally got going, scoring 10 points in the frame after a scoreless first half. His output and eight more points from Rigsby gave the Cardinals a 56-43 lead entering the final quarter.
Grand Valley stretched its lead beyond 20 points before settling for the final 19-point margin.
Rigsby didn’t score in the fourth quarter but still led all scorers with 25 points. He admitted the final score was a bit of a surprise after the dogfights the Cardinals and Titans had engaged in previously.
“I was kind of shocked we were stretching it,” he said.
But he knew why it happened, adding, “We executed.”
Parker added 10 more points in the final quarter to finish with 20 points, and Magee finished with 16 points.
The top four teams in the Western Slope District — Basalt beat Roaring Fork 43-25 in the third place game — advance to 3A regional play this week. They will find out their Round of 16 opponents today when CHSAA announces the brackets and seeding for the 32 state-playoff teams.