Centennial league rivals clashed in an epic showdown yesterday afternoon as Grandview hosted Cherry Creek. In a true tale of two halves, Cherry Creek needed one more to take the first of two from the Wolves, but two clutch free throws sealed the game for Grandview in the final seconds of the game.
Cherry Creek controlled the first half behind the efforts of juniors, Jana Van Gytenbeek and Cali Clark. However, Grandview always found themselves within striking distance, never letting the lead go beyond ten points.
The first quarter began with four quick points by Van Gytenbeek and Clark before Grandview’s Allyah Marlett was able to get her team on the board. Van Gytenbeek and Clark added another six points before Marlett took it coast-to-coast to bring the score to 10-4 with just over three and a half minutes to go. The Bruins continued to attack the paint, a strategy that was taken straight from the success Regis found in their victory over Grandview exactly one month prior. In doing so, they were able to capitalize on high-percentage looks and were able to get Grandview’s best interior threat, Lauren Betts, into foul trouble, picking up two fouls before the end of the quarter.
Despite the foul trouble, Betts was back on the floor to start the second quarter and charged up the home fans after an emphatic block on Clark. Shortly after the block, a step back three-pointer by Grandview’s Kameryn Brown closed the gap to just three points, before Cherry Creek responded with a three of their own by Abby Wrede to extend the Bruin lead to 24-18 halfway through the quarter. Betts picked up her third foul with just under four minutes to go fueling an additional ten points by Cherry Creek who took a 34-29 lead into the second half despite giving up two more threes by Grandview by Tomia Johnson and Landri Hudson.
Playing it safe, Grandview sat Betts for the first two minutes of the second half. Despite her absence, Cherry Creek was unable to capitalize as they did in the first half. Clark and Van Gytenbeek scored the first five points of the quarter before Addison O’Grady drilled a shot from the block to get the Wolves on the board about four minutes into the third quarter. On the next Grandview possession, Clark jumped the pass to Betts perfectly and drove to the net, taking a hard foul from Betts to push the Bruins lead to 41-31 – the largest lead of the game. However, the excitement and lead quickly dwindled, as Cherry Creek was unable to score in the final 3:42 of the quarter. Davis and Johnson took over for Grandview as the duo scored the final nine of the quarter to take a 42-41 lead into the fourth after an incredible buzzer-beating floater by Johnson found the bottom of the net.
The fourth quarter was back and forth between the teams as neither gave up a chance to push the lead out of reach. Grandview took a gamble with 4:40 remaining in putting Betts back on the floor – a gamble that would pay off in the end. With Betts back on the floor, Cherry Creek found themselves moving away from attacking the paint, despite her foul trouble. As the teams continued to trade baskets, Cherry Creek appeared to take the advantage after a questionable jump ball call with 37 seconds remaining gave the Bruins possession and a 53-52 lead. A smart foul by Grandview sent Cherry Creek’s KaCee Kyle to the line for a one-and-one attempt but she was unable to capitalize as Grandview secured the rebound. With 17 seconds left, Betts was fouled on her shot and sent to the line to shoot two. Betts missed her only two attempts from the line in the first half, but in this attempt she was clutch – hitting both shots to give the Wolves a 54-53 lead that would hold up as Cherry Creek missed their attempt to win the game.
Jana Van Gytenbeek and Cali Clark led the way for the Bruins. Despite going scoreless in the second quarter, Van Gytenbeek ended the day with a game-high 20 points. Clark scored 15 of her 19 points in the first half, but was effectively shut down in the second half, only scoring her other four points in the third quarter.
Seniors Alisha Davis and Allyah Marlett led the Wolves in scoring. Davis quietly putting up a team-high 17 points. Marlett finished with 10 of her own. However, Tomia Johnson’s 9 points proved vital as she gave Grandview their first lead of the game heading into the fourth quarter – capping off their fight all the way back. Freshman Lauren Betts finished with six, two coming in the form of the game-tying and game-winning points.