Fri Jul 16th, 2021
Special to the Drum
Tags: 2020 CHSAA Class 2A State Championships, Alissa Hebberd, All-State, All-State Debut, Blue Crew, Brianna Linnear, Budweiser Events Center, Charlize Valdez, Colorado High School Coaches Association All-State Games, CSU-Pueblo’s Massari Arena, Day Ome Semifinal, Elam-Rules Tourney, Jolee Ortiz, Kammie Henderson, Kermit Spencer, Kylie Sanger, Lady Cats, LaMonte Widdle, Shelby Hoffman, Taylor wisecamp, third quarter points
Graduated senior totals 9 points in Pueblo
With both squads eyeing an Elam-rules target count of 62 (the score stood 54-54 when the first whistle after the fourth quarter’s midway moment sounded, enacting the unusual means of declaring a winner) late in the 2021 Colorado High School Coaches Association All-State Games’ third-place girls’ basketball clash but deadlocked at 61, the next … well, anything would give either the nine ASG-Red or ten ASG-Blue players one last taste of prep-level victory.
As if emotions for all the graduated seniors, introduced with their families prior to tipoff, weren’t already elevated enough.
Fortunately for Ignacio’s Charlize Valdez, fortune ultimately favored the Blue crew Friday morning, July 2, inside CSU-Pueblo’s Massari Arena – a site all too familiar to the Valdezes and Bobcat Basketball (both boys’ and girls’) during still-recent years past, prior to the CHSAA Class 2A State Championships’ relocation to the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland.
After 2A Cedaredge’s Kammie Henderson hit from close range to put Red up 61-58, and 2A Rye’s Jolee Ortiz answering for Blue with a super-clutch three-pointer, the contest came down to one deuce, trey or free throw. And with Red unable to produce anything, Blue – which had led 10-7 after one eight-minute quarter and 34-26 through two – prevailed when 1A Briggsdale’s Shelby Hoffman cleaned up a missed three attempted by 5A Aurora Rangeview’s Brianna Linnear.
Netting one basket during the second and third quarters, plus a free throw during the fourth, Valdez finished with five points while 4A Windsor’s Kylie Sanger led the way with 15 (nine in the fourth quarter) and Linnear totaled 12. Ortiz ended up with three triples and nine points, and Hoffman’s eight points equaled the tally of 3A New Castle Coal Ridge’s Taylor Wiescamp.
3A La Jara Centauri’s Brenna McDaniel led Red with 15 points, all scored during the first half, with 1A Elbert’s Olivia Lay (10) and 1A Dove Creek’s Grace Hatfield (10) joining her in double figures. One of Valdez’s 2A/1A San Juan Basin League rivals, Hatfield’s back-to-back threes closing out the third quarter had swiped Red a 50-46 lead entering the final frame.
Blue’s relegation to the third-place game had been all but assured swiftly the previous evening, as ASG-Black raced out to a 13-0 advantage before Hoffman managed to drop in a basket. A Linnear free throw and two by 1A Mosca Sangre de Cristo’s Avery Palmgren only slightly trimmed Black’s lead to 17-5 after the first quarter.
Getting scoring from nine different players in the second, Black’s advantage ballooned to 37-12 at intermission, and despite Linnear’s eight third-quarter points Blue still trailed 57-29 beginning the fourth … during which Valdez made her mark.
Playing for Rangeview’s LaMonte Weddle and Rye’s Kermit Spencer, Valdez drew a foul in the paint against 1A South Baca (Vilas-Campo-Pritchett) County’s Alissa Hebberd with 4:24 remaining in regulation – or roughly 24 seconds before Elam rules were to kick in. Valdez calmly made both free throws, then attempted to inject even more life into her team by hustling back to the defensive end of the floor and making a steal.
With Blue again set up on offense, Valdez’s bang-bang-bang sequence of events continued with a confident 17-foot jumper from straight away – giving her all four of her points inside of a minute. But with Black more or less coasting, Elam play was enacted with Blue behind 66-39, and Hebberd would end the game with a layup making the final margin 74-42.
Linnear finished with 12 points and Wiescamp nine, while Hoffman totaled six and Ortiz five. 4A Denver Mullen’s Alexa Dominguez led Black with a game-high 19 points, 5A Parker Ponderosa sniper Liberty Line was right behind with 18 – via six three-pointers – and Hebberd totaled eight.
Victorious 51-42 over Red in the earlier Day 1 semifinal, ASG-White would earn the tourney title 64-51 over Black, despite Line draining another seven treys and racking up a Games-best 26 points. 4A Broomfield Holy Family’s Alyssa Wells recorded 18 points and 1A Fleming’s Kendyl Kirkwood 17 for the champs.