Elizabeth’s Clare Nicolas felt she couldn’t have found a better way to spend her 18th birthday then to help lead the Cardinals to a Colorado Seven League opening basketball victory.
And that’s just what Nicolas did in last Friday as she scored 12 points, a co-team high with Sabra Ross, as Elizabeth defeated visiting Vista PEAK Prep, 64-25. With the win, the Cardinals of coach Jamie Schmalz also improved to 5-4 overall.
“I just wanted to go in and play my hardest on my birthday,” Nicolas “I’m 18 today - wish I could have had 18 points. But this is a pretty good birthday present. I know they are a young team and I don’t think we expected the blowout going into the game and despite the score, they played us tough. I want to continue to work on pace and rebounding. I got the shots after the rebounds, but I could have played just a bit better.”
Elizabeth jumped out to a 15-4 lead in the first quarter and led 31-8 at the intermission. The fourth quarter was played with a core of girls up from the junior varsity.
“Our offense seemed a bit cold at first and it was our defense that got us going,” Schmalz said. “Clare had a fine game and it was fun to get a win on her birthday. She came out to play hard. I was also impressed with Vista. Of course they are so young, but their girls played hard all the way.
“It’s good to win the league opener, but we know that we have a long way to go,” Schmalz said. “They played hard against us and just never gave up. Youth, though, is what they will have to overcome. But, as one can see, there is some talent out there.”
Ross was also quite pleased with the league opening victory.
“They were very aggressive and they made us work the ball the best we could,” Ross said. “We definitely have to focus on team work and it came through tonight. We didn’t come in expecting a blowout and we were working hard, looking for our shots. It’s just great to win our league opener, but there is a long way to go.”
Vista PEAK Prep coach Matt Borushko was pleased with his young team’s effort despite the loss. After all, this is their first varsity season.
“Physically I think we are going to come along,” Borushko said. “We don’t want the girls to hold back, but we are still making a lot of mental mistakes. We’ve only got the sophomores and freshmen so we have a way to go. But the girls are not about to give up. They are well aware of their situations.”
Only three girls scored for Vista PEAK with sophomore Aaliyah Carter leading the way with 14 points. Jaylynn Johnson, only a freshman, scored seven while sophomore Alicia Rhone scored the final four points.
“This is our first year with a varsity and we have a lot of learning to do,” Carter said. “We can’t let down and I don’t think we did that tonight. We want to play physical, but we are making a lot of mental mistakes and that’s something we have to get out of our heads. I think we came in and played our hardest tonight.”
Elizabeth got off to a fine start after the holiday break beating Conifer 39-24. Neubert led the way with 14 points while Kaylyn Radtke scored nine. Ross had a fine game on the boards pulling down 11 rebounds and also blocking six shots. Radtke, by the way, did not play against Vista PEAK as she is nursing an injury.
The Cardinals host Weld Central on Jan. 18th, will join the boys in a double-header against Fort Morgan, Jan. 19 then play at Skyview, Jan. 22.
There had to be a frozen element on the court for the Elbert girls as they were beaten by home standing Simla, 54-31, last Friday. The only ‘warm’ player for the Bulldogs was Logan Franek, who scored 22 points, pulled down 19 rebounds and came through with four steals.
Lauren Pearson added seven points and pulled down seven rebounds, but Kylee Harris was the only other player to score for the Bulldogs with two points in the loss. As one can see, they were cold during the first three quarters scoring four in the first, seven in the second and six in the third.
The girls, coached by Rebecca Tomlin, nearly pulled out a victory last Friday, falling to Colorado Springs, 30-29. A dismal second quarter, in which the Bulldogs only scored two points while Colorado Springs scored 10, was their undoing.
Pearson was the leading scorer this time around hitting for 14 points and pulling down nine rebounds. Franek tallied 12 points and also pulled down nine rebounds. Amber Frase, two points, and Devin Mayer, one, were the only other players to score for the youthful Bulldogs.
Elbert plays host to Jim Elliott, Jan. 18, then play at Hanover, Jan. 19.
The girls, under coach Al Snyder, had just about everything their way as they came through with a 73-18 victory against Byers, Jan. 11 and followed with a 54-31 win against Elbert last Saturday. In the process, the Cubs kept their record unblemished at 7-0.
Kenzi Mitchell led the way in scoring in both games popping in 28 against Byers and 14 against Elbert. The only other player to score in double-figures in each game for Simla was Marylin Alexander with 13 against Elbert and 12 against Byers.
Alexander was also tough on defense as she accounted for 11 blocks against Elbert while also pulling down nine rebounds. The offense got a big boost from Sam Kaatz, who came through with six steals against Elbert and four against Byers. Mikki Korinek didn’t score against Elbert, but certainly six steals was a good night on defense.
Simla travels to Miami-Yoder, Jan. 18, the hosts Calhan, Jan. 19.
The Kiowa girls did not play this past week. The Indians will resume action Jan. 15 when they host CIVA Charter of Colorado Springs.
They then host Calhan, Jan. 18, Deer Trail Jan. 22 then travel to Vanguard Christian, Jan. 26.