Rivals, Grandview and Cherry Creek, faced off in a rematch of last season’s 5A title game tonight in the first of two regular season meetings between the teams. Cherry Creek stunned Grandview to secure their first ever girls basketball state championship in March – tonight, Grandview looked to get make it even with a statement win.
The Wolves did just that, upsetting the number one team in the state on their home court.
Both Cherry Creek and Grandview got on the board quickly as both teams were dialed in from the opening tip-off. The Bruins took an early 6-2 lead over Grandview thanks to back-to-back three point shots. However, the presence of Grandview sophomore, Lauren Betts, made it difficult for Cherry Creek to penetrate the paint for high-percentage looks. Grandview capitalized on failed offensive possessions by Cherry Creek and quickly tied the game at six.
A timeout by Cherry Creek was what the team needed as they found themselves on a 9-1 run over the course of the next three minutes in the quarter. Grandview finally found the bottom of the net with a three-pointer from the corner by junior Libby Campbell. Momentum swung back in favor of Grandview following Campbell’s shot as the Wolves ended the first on a 7-0 run and trailed Cherry Creek 15-14 heading into the second quarter.
Grandview took the lead with another three-pointer to start the second quarter but an and-one conversion by Cherry Creek senior Jana Van Gytenbeek gave the Bruins the lead once again. The Bruins’ lead was short-lived as the team settled for low-percentage looks from beyond the arc instead of attacking the paint to draw fouls. Grandview took advantage of the missed opportunities and began to pull away. The Wolves ended the half strong, outscoring Cherry Creek 13-2 and held a commanding 34-22 lead at the break.
Grandview junior Addison O’Grady has clearly been working on her skill set over the summer and early part of the season, flashing range from beyond the arc and dominance inside scoring the first five points of the second half for the Wolves. Cherry Creek continued to struggle offensively, settling for bad looks. Defensively, the Bruins looked sluggish out of the break and frequently left Grandview shooters wide open.
Grandview took their opportunity and ran with it. The Wolves outscored Cherry Creek 31-18 in the second half, ending the game with a dominating 25-point victory to dethrone the Bruins from their top spot. Grandview players and fans collectively shook off their state title defeat with a 65-40 win over Cherry Creek.
The Wolves made the mistake of not playing their duo of Addison O’Grady and Lauren Betts enough in the title game last March. Tonight was a different story as the two combined for 33 points. O’Grady finished with a team-high 17 points, while Betts was right behind her with 16 of her own. Betts looked polished and comfortable in the paint, while O’Grady showed an expansion to her range.
Despite an off night on both ends of the court, the Bruins showed they are a tough matchup for Grandview. While the score didn’t entirely reflect that, their speed and willingness to attack the paint to draw fouls was evident. As the point differential grew, the Bruins pulled away from this strategy though, ultimately costing them the game. Senior Jana Van Gytenbeek finished the game with a game-high 20 points but showed this team is built around multiple players. No other player scored more than nine points, and Senior Cali Clark was held in check, scoring just four.