The red-hot Roaring Fork Rams beat Grand Valley on the road Friday 91-75. En route to victory, they controlled most of the first half, with three starters finishing the game in double figures.
Roaring Fork’s Noel Richardson connected on six 3-pointers and dropped by a whopping 41 points against the Cardinals. Meanwhile, teammates River Byrne and Diego Loya had 23 and 17 points, respectively.
“He’s been coming lately,” Roaring Fork head coach Jason Kreiling said of Richardson. “We’ve had some sick guys a couple – starters like these last three games – and he’s really stepped up and is taking care of business and just helping us.”
But the Cardinals (8-11, 7-5) responded with three of their players in double digits. Cardinals senior Alex Alegria went well by 20 points, Kaden Amis 18 and Andrew Horner 17. Roaring Fork could not miss in the first half. Loya was with the lights out. Richardson drained a 3-pointer to end the first quarter. The Rams extended their lead at the half to 24 points after Byrne hit a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left in the second quarter.
Seeing some light to start the fourth quarter, Horner hit a three-pointer at 4:13. Half a second later, Alegria steals the ball in the Rams’ backcourt and drains a two-point conversion after the foul.
“Grand Valley had one heck of a second half,” Kreiling said. “Their shooters started hitting some 3s and really brought them back into the game. The second half I really think was theirs. They played well.”
Hitting the free throw, the Cardinals were in shooting range 72-61. A three-pointer by Grand Valley’s Kaden Amis with 50 seconds left in the game then put the Cardinals within 10 points, but the Rams simply played and held off long enough for the clock to run out and win.
The state playoffs begin this week, with Roaring Fork (14-5, 11-1) potentially facing Olathe on Tuesday.
“I think the postseason is always about who’s playing their best basketball right now,” Kreiling said. “We don’t want to take anything for granted. It has to be one game at a time. Hopefully, we’ll be able to win on Tuesday night so we can get to Grand Junction for the end of the district tournament.
“We can’t neglect anyone.”