Cards Split Weekend Contests

McClave_logo1Holding a top-two ranking heading into the weekend, the McClave Cardinals knew they would have their opponents’ full focus in a pair contests, and the challenge would be to match that, both nights. On paper, coach Shawn Randel’s team should have had a fairly easy go of things, but it was proven once again that basketball is not played on paper.

McClave hosted a young Kit Carson team on Friday, and the Wildcats knew they could not run with the Cardinals, so they looked to slow things down. For a McClave team that likes to get out an run, being tied at 14 after two quarters was something foreign. Try as they might, the Cards just could not get the tempo to their liking.

The Cards entered the fourth quarter with a slim three-point lead, 25-22, but their shot selection would let them down in the final period. Kit Carson fought back and snuck out of the gym with a 34-32 upset over the Cards. Junior forward TJ Trujillo was the only Cardinal to reach double figures, leading the team with 13 points.

“Kit Carson did a great job controlling the tempo of the game and executing on the offensive end,” Coach Randel said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well and our shot selection was very questionable, but (Kit) Carson had a lot to do with that.”

Still stinging from the loss, the Cardinals were right back in action on Saturday, visiting Springfield. McClave found a Longhorn squad that was more comfortable at an uptempo pace than Kit Carson, and that played into the Cards favor.

Less than 24 hours after scoring 14 points in a half, McClave reached that total in the first quarter on the road, staking the Cardinals to a three-point lead. McClave would gain further separation with a 12-7 scoring advantage in the second.

Trying to overcome the halftime deficit, the Longhorns pushed the pace in the second half, and that allowed the Cardinals to get things rolling on offense. Randel’s squad struck for 37 second half points, giving them a 63-51 win.

“Our approach on the offensive end was much more disciplined,” Randel stated. “We had a purpose on most offensive trips which resulted in better production. Kolby Brubacher gave us a ‘big’ on both ends of the floor, and his production was a big part of our win.”

The loss to Kit Carson cost the Cardinals two spots in this week’s Colorado Preps Class 1A poll, but they will have a shot at a quality win when they host #9 Cheraw on Friday. The Wolverine lost to Wiley last Friday, 53-51, but responded with a 60-34 win at home against Edison on Saturday.

By Kerry Sherman

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