The Grand Valley Girls’ State Championship race ended Friday night after the No. 1 and still undefeated Platte Valley Broncos defeated the Cardinals 52-33.
“There’s a reason (Platte Valley) hasn’t lost in a few years,” Cardinals head coach Scott Parker said. “They have very talented players, they are deep and well trained.”
The Semifinal 3A loss means No. 4 Grand Valley will face No. 3 The Vanguard School in a final for third place at the University of Denver’s Hamilton Gymnasium on Saturday noon.
Although they were outscored 26-11 in the second half, a first-half surge saw the Cardinals come within a single point of the Broncos.
The first quarter was all Broncos as junior Bree Bunting hit a three-pointer and another short jumper, leading to a 9-0 Broncos run after the whistleblower.
Parker called two timeouts in the first quarter.
But Cardinals sophomore Jaycee Pittmann responded later, draining a three-pointer while getting fouled. She had hit the free throw afterwards and finished the game at four points.
Cardinals junior AbbyRose Parker, coming off a 19-point night against St. Mary’s on Thursday, drained another three points from Grand Valley.
Grand Valley headed into the second quarter down 15-7.
Bunting, who finished the game with 21 points and four blocks, immediately started the second quarter by hitting his second three-pointer of the night.
After that, the Cardinals turned red on offense, going 13-3. On the other hand, the Broncos finished the first half with eight turnovers.
At around the 4:46 mark in the second quarter, Parker hit a two-point bucket while fouling on a spinning motion.
Minutes later, Pittman drew two key fouls, hitting three free throws down the line that would cut the Broncos’ lead 21-20.
“In the second quarter there, we were able to get in the bucket and get some inside and outside shots. It’s our offensive force,” Scott Parker said. “They attacked us a bit at the start of the first quarter, but we managed to get things going in the second quarter.”
Platte Valley head coach Tonya Schissler was forced to call a 30-second timeout at 2:45.
After Bunting hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer, the Broncos headed into halftime with a 26-20 lead.
Back in the third quarter, the Broncos were going on a 12-2 run. Platte Valley junior Andi Schissler, who has already dropped 11 points so far, scored a two-point field goal while drawing a foul. Free kick from the free throw, Platte Valley now led 33-22 after 6 minutes.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals were held to just two runs via a 17-foot hit by Grand Valley senior Kaylie Stark.
“In the third quarter, we couldn’t get into an offensive flow and get transition buckets, and (the Broncos) were able to stretch the lead,” Scott Parker said.
In the fourth quarter, Grand Valley just couldn’t find the net. Parker went cold, while senior teammate Bailey Radel, who was turned off in regionals and the state tournament, was limited to a three-pointer throughout the game.
Pittman finished the game with a double-double of 10 points and 14 rebounds, including 2 blocks. Parker finished the game with 16 points, going 5-7 from the free throw line.
“It’s a good race. It’s been a lot of fun and we always talk about trying to play our best ball at the end of the season,” Scott Parker said. “I thought we did.”
Platte Valley now faces No. 2 University for the 3A state title at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Journalist Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or [email protected]