Young Pirates fall short in 3A district championship
A strong third quarter gave the Olathe High School girls basketball team leads as large as five points on two occasions and hope for a district-title-winning finish.
But against an excellent Moffat County squad that already owned two wins over the Pirates, Olathe needed more seniors like Haley Turley.
Turley was a driving and diving force at the Palisade High School court’s two ends, especially in the second half when it looked like she just might will Olathe to a victory. But youth, Pirates coach Paul Althaus said, caught up with Olathe as it bowed 46-41 to the Bulldogs (19-3) in the championship game of the Class 3A Western Slope League District tournament.
“Probably the biggest difference was our youth,” Althaus said, adding his players have grown and improved, but there’s another step to take for the four juniors and four sophomores on his 12-player roster.
He hopes they’ll emulate Turley, who emerged as the Pirates’ (17-5) best player this year.
“She goes out and gives it everything all the time,” Althaus said. “She sets a good example for the younger kids.”
Turley, who finished with a game-high 19 points and made nine of 10 free throws, put the Pirates up 27-22 with a layup midway through the third quarter. Olathe gave her a rest to close the quarter, and Brooke Cryer produced three points and a 30-25 lead with 1:15 left in the quarter.
The fourth quarter, however, belonged to the Bulldogs, who scored on five straight possessions to take a 40-34 lead with 3:06 left in the game.
Turley made two free throws with 2:28 remaining to cut the deficit to 40-36, and she made two more free throws with 1:03 left, getting Olathe within 41-38, but Moffat County made five of six free throws from there to ice the game.
“You hope that when you get a team like that down by five or six (points), you can finish it,” Althaus said. “We didn’t really fold. ... We didn’t match their intensity at that point, or up our intensity. We made some mistakes — some caused by their pressure — but they were mistakes we shouldn’t make.”
Olathe reached the district final for the fourth year in a row, and it is 2-2 in those games. Now, the Pirates will wait to find out today where CHSAA places them in the 3A state tournament field.
Althaus said he expects Moffat County to reach the final eight, and he added, “I think we can be there, too. That’s our goal.”
■ In the 3A District third-place game, Roaring Fork beat Grand Valley 45-39.
4A Girls State
Host Pueblo West used a 13-0 run in each half en route to a 58-45 win over Delta.
The Cyclones (24-1) took control of the game with a 13-0 run for a 23-8 lead early in the second quarter. Delta got within 43-35 with 1:35 left in the third quarter, but the Cyclones answered with another 13-0 run that put the game out of reach midway through the fourth.
Skylyn Webb finished with a game-high 21 points and Callie Gafford scored 14 points and blocked five shots for Delta (19-5).
■ In the Class 2A Tournament at Paonia High School, Meeker beat Paonia 61-58 in the title game and Hotchkiss beat Rangely 40-38 for third place.
■ In the Class 1A Tournament at Olathe High School, Norwood beat Dove Creek 49-23 in the final.
■ In the Class 3A Tournament at Palisade, Roaring Fork beat Moffat County 59-54 in the final, and Aspen beat Basalt 51-32 for third.
■ In the Class 2A Tournament at Paonia, Hayden defeated Meeker 54-51 for the title, and West Grand topped Paonia 65-58 for third.
■ In the Class 1A Tournament at Olathe, Vail Christian beat Norwood 42-32 for the title.