AURORA | Urgency flipped the switch for the Grandview girls basketball team Friday night.
After a tense first quarter that saw them with just a two-point lead on feisty No. 8 Chatfield, the senior-laden Wolves turned up the defensive pressure and looked the part of a No. 1 seed for the final three quarters of a 61-32 rout in a Class 5A girls state basketball second round contest.
Grandview held the Chargers to single digit points in the last three periods and junior Natalie Halbleib matched Chatfield’s entire second half production — 14 points — in a two-minute hot stretch as the Wolves cruised into the Sweet 16. Grandview (22-2) plays host to fourth-seeded Rock Canyon (18-6), a 48-40 winner over No. 5 Grand Junction, at 7 p.m. Tuesday night.
“We struggled for a little while, but we got going eventually,” said Wolves coach Josh Ulitzky, whose team made the Sweet 16 for the third time in five seasons and is a win from a return to the Great 8, where it lost to Highlands Ranch last season.
“I don’t know what we’re playing our best right now, which is OK,” he added. “Hopefully we’ll get that going, but it was a good step forward for our players tonight.”
Aurora’s other No. 1 seed, Regis Jesuit, also moved into the quarterfinals with an even more decisive victory, as the Raiders polished off visiting No. 8 seed Smoky Hill by a 75-33 count. Regis Jesuit will play host to No. 5 Fort Collins — which posted a mild 63-49 upset of No. 4 Prairie View — on Tuesday night.
For Grandview, Halbleib led the way with 16 points, while senior Natasha Edge added 15 and senior Adaeze Obinnah and junior Katie Cunningham went for seven apiece.
Chatfield, which routed ninth-seeded Legend in the 1st round, hung around for the entire first quarter and tied it at 13-13 on Maddie Deutsch’s 3-pointer with under a minute left in the period. Obinnah was fouled as she made the tie-breaking basket with 13.3 seconds left and though she missed the free throw, Grandview never gave up the lead from there.
Edge had 10 points in the second quarter as the Wolves upped their lead to 31-18 at halftime.
“It takes us awhile to get going, but once we get going, I feel like — not be cocky — we’re a little unstoppable,” said senior Sedia Olsen, who converted a three-point play midway through the third period to up the lead to 15.
Pressuring the Chargers into bunches of turnovers, Grandview’s advantage went from comfortable to overwhelming with Halbleib’s streak, which began with a 3-pointer that made it 42-23 in favor of the Wolves with 1:40 remaining in the quarter. She followed it up with a putback and consecutive jumpers after steals by Cunningham to push the advantage to 48-26 going into the fourth quarter.
A 3-pointer and layup off another steal gave her 14 straight points before Obinnah’s inside basket — which came after Halbleib passed up a potential jumper — stopped the streak.
“I just needed to redeem myself from the first quarter for my turnovers, so it felt good,” said Halbleib, whose 16 points were a season-high and one off her career high set last season.
“Our defense was phenomenal in the second half, we really pushed it,” she added. “We pushed ourselves to keep wanting to stop the ball, then score and stop again.”
The Wolves — who held the Chargers to no more than eight points in any of the final three quarters — had their largest lead of 32 points in the final minutes.
The key against Rock Canyon? The same as it was against Chatfield.
“Defense,” Olsen said. “It’s senior year, so it’s our last chance.”
Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at [email protected] or 303-750-7555
(1) GRANDVIEW 61, (8) CHATFIELD 32
Score by quarters:
Chatfield 13 5 8 6 — 32
Grandview 15 16 17 13 — 61
Katie Glander 1 0-0 3, Kelsi Lawrence 1 2-2 5, Kailee Cordova 0 0-0 0, Emily Lachenmayer 4 0-0 8, Kristi Vaninger 2 4-8 8, Madi Walker 1 0-0 2, Kate Gelston 1 0-0 3, Maddie Deutsch 1 0-0 3, Gabby Miller 0 0-2 0. Totals 11 6-12 32.
Brooke Genovese 0 0-0 0, Erin Kemp 1 0-0 3, Natasha Edge 5 3-3 15, Katie Cunningham 3 1-2 7, Adaeze Obinnah 2 3-8 7, Natalie Halbleib 6 2-2 16, Sedia Olsen 2 1-1 5, Brittany Bender 2 2-2 6, Kayla Vallin 1 0-0 2, Jen Jordan 0 0-0 0, Chantal Jones 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 12-18 61.
3-point field goals — Chatfield (4): Maddie Deutsch, Kate Gelston, Katie Glander, Kelsi Lawrence; Grandview (5): Natasha Edge 2, Natalie Halbleib 2, Erin Kemp. Total fouls — Chatfield 15, Grandview 12. Fouled out — Chatfield: Kailee Cordova. Technical fouls — Grandview: Too many players on floor.