Eagle Valley falls short against Kennedy, 49-44 | VailDaily.com

Eagle Valley falls short against Kennedy, 49-44

Ian Smith
Vail, CO Colorado
FILE EVBB Jazmin Zapata DT 1-13-09

DENVER, Colorado ” Eagle Valley almost pulled it off.

Despite injuries to two players, the Devils gave a talented Kennedy girls basketball team everything it could handle on Tuesday night. Unfortunately for Eagle Valley, a poor third quarter doomed its chances of advancing to the second round of the state tournament.

Eagle Valley (9-15) fell to the Commanders, 49-44, in Denver to end its season.

“It was an awesome game,” Eagle Valley coach Ken Reagan said. “I was happy with the way we came out and played. It was fun.”

Kennedy (16-8) entered Tuesday’s contest favored after earning the No. 6 seed in the Tracy Hill Region. It didn’t look that way in the early going.

Behind Yvette Parra’s seven first-quarter points, the No.11-seeded Devils jumped out to a 16-7 lead. When Eagle Valley missed, the Devils attacked the offensive glass. In the first half, the Eagle Valley out-rebounded Kennedy by 10.

The Commanders made up ground in the second quarter, but the Devils still took a 29-26 lead into halftime.

“We got after it in the first half,” Reagan said.

The game turned in Kennedy’s favor in the third quarter. Determined to advance, the Commanders cranked up their defensive pressure. Kennedy outscored Eagle Valley 15-5 in the decisive eight minutes.

“They turned up their defense in the third quarter,” Reagan said. “We barely got any shots off.”

It didn’t help matters that Kennedy’s star player, Jamee Leichtle, found her rhythm in the third. Leichtle scored eight of her game-high 23 points in the period.

“We took her out of her game in the first half,” Reagan said. “Then in the third quarter, she just lit us up.”

Eagle Valley kept fighting in the fourth quarter, but the rally fell short. Parra and Jazmin Zapata ” who filled in for her injured sister, Brenda ” paced the Devils with 10 points each. Kacey Bair added eight points and eight rebounds. Mikaela Nevin tweaked her knee and only saw limited action for Eagle Valley.

The loss marked the end of seniors Stephanie Renzelman, Bair, Parra and Sierra Pickslay’s high school careers. Reagan couldn’t say enough about the job his seniors did this season.

“They’ve stuck with it the whole time,” Reagan said. “They were good leaders on the floor this year. They made practice enjoyable for the other girls. It’s been a fun year.”

Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or ismith@vaildaily.com.

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