Ralston Valley comes up short on making fifth straight Great 8

Dennis Pleuss
Jeffco Public Schools
Posted 3/7/19

THORNTON — Experience paid dividends for Horizon on Feb. 26. The No. 7-seeded Hawks leaned on their eight seniors to earn a fourth straight trip to the Great 8 of Class 5A girls basketball state …

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Ralston Valley comes up short on making fifth straight Great 8

Posted

THORNTON — Experience paid dividends for Horizon on Feb. 26.

The No. 7-seeded Hawks leaned on their eight seniors to earn a fourth straight trip to the Great 8 of Class 5A girls basketball state tournament. Horizon never trailed against No. 10 Ralston Valley on the way to a 58-40 victory.

“Ralston Valley is a young and up-and-coming team. They are going to be really dangerous next year,” Horizon coach Dan Doehler said. “But they only returned two players with Sweet 16 winning experience and I returned nine players. We’ve been here and done that.”

Longtime Ralston Valley coach Jeff Gomer was pleased with the progress of his young team this season.

“I like this team,” Gomer said. “I think this team has grown more over the span of a season more than any I’ve ever coached. They’ve come a long way.”

Ralston Valley sophomores Sydney Bevington (17 points) and Brooklyn Seymour (12 points) tried to keep the Mustangs in the game. Ralston Valley (18-7 record) was attempting to advance to its fifth straight Great 8 appearance, but couldn’t keep up with the high-flying Hawks.

“It feels awesome,” Horizon senior Sam Deems said of a fourth consecutive trip to state quarterfinals at the Denver Coliseum.

The state quarterfinal test was something Horizon (21-5) wasn’t able to hurdle. Last year’s state runner-up and No. 2 seed Regis Jesuit defeated the Hawks 68-37 in the state quarterfinals March 1.

Highlands Ranch, Cherry Creek Grandview and Regis make up the Final Four will play in the state semifinals Thursday, March 7, at the Denver Coliseum. Jeffco’s other 5A team that advanced to the Sweet 16 was Dakota Ridge.

The Eagles suf-fered a 72-25 loss last Tuesday night against top-seeded Highlands Ranch.

Losses by Ralston Valley and Dakota Ridge ended the run of Jeffco Public School teams making the state quarterfinals. The last time Jeffco wasn’t represented at the Great 8 was in 2012. Valor Christian, 5A Jeffco League member, did advance to the quarterfinals before losing to Grandview 62-45 on March 1 at the Coliseum.

Aly Deems and Jimenez played huge roles against Ralston Valley as both played their final game at “The Nest”. The seniors combined for 35 points to lead the way for the Hawks. Deem poured in 17 points through three quarters and Jimenez put the game away with a 10-point third quarter.

The biggest play came in the final seconds of the third quarter. Ralston Valley had made a little run and threatened to cut the Hawks’ lead under double-digit points to start the fourth quarter. However, Jimenez stole the ball near mid-court and raced down the court for an uncontested layup at the buzzer to extend Horizon’s lead to 46-31 heading to the final quarter.

“You always need those big plays to get you back on track,” Jimenez said of her steal and layup to end the third quarter. “I took a risk. I just had to go for it. I think that gave us some momentum going into the fourth.”

Dennis Pleuss is a communications specialist for Jeffco Public Schools with a fo-cus on athletics and activities. For more Jeffco coverage, go online at CHSAANow.com/Jeffco

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