Highlands Ranch Overpowers ThunderRidge
HIGHLANDS RANCH—In a match-up of two perennial powerhouses in state of Colorado, the Highlands Ranch Lady Falcons mauled the Thunderridge Lady Grizzlies 64-46 Saturday night.
The first quarter was an absolute basketball clinic. Fueled by the sizzling hot shooting of senior Michaela Neuhaus, Highlands Ranch jumped out to a 28-4 lead after one quarter of play. The Falcons were able to soar to such a large lead with both offense and defense. They knocked down five three’s and swiped six steals.
On the first possession of the game, Neuhaus swished a long three. On Highlands Ranch next possession, she slithered to the rim, got fouled, made the bucket, and knocked down the free throw. It only took two possessions for Neuhaus to set the tone for the game.
“I absolutely do think she is the best player in the state,” said head coach Caryn Jarocki, praising her star player. Jarocki, in her 16th year at Highlands Ranch, gladly gives Neuhaus the green light when she is on the court.
“She’s a great shooter. She is probably the best shooter in the state. So she can shoot whenever she wants,” Jarocki said.
“I try to keep within myself and play within myself, move and shoot throughout our offense, but coach doesn’t yell at me when I take a bad shot. I just get back on defense and work harder,” said Neuhaus, who is averaging 23.1 point per game.
Neuhaus, a bonafide candidate for Ms. Basketball, had 19 points in the first half, outscoring Thunderridge by four points all by her self. Neuhaus nailed a deep three with 4:27 left in the second quarter, putting the Falcons up 40-6 against their continental league rival. Going into halftime, the Falcons were up 42-15, which proved to be an insurmountable advantage for the Grizzlies to overcome.
Give Thuderridge credit for fighting hard until the final whistle. They actually outplayed the Falcons in the second half, outscoring their opponent 31-22 after the intermission. They had just dug too big of a hole. Thunderridge did a better job bottling up Neuhaus, only allowing her to score four second half points. She finished with 23 to lead all scorers.
Junior Grizzly Taylor Williams came alive in the second half, and finished with a team high 17 points. She consistently took the ball hard to the rim.
“I wasn’t very pleased with how we played in the second half, “ said Jarocki. “We kind of got flat footed, and weren’t running our cuts as fast as we did in the first half, so I wasn’t too happy with that.”
The #1 ranked Falcons (17-4) are always happy, however, to get a win against Thunderridge (13-7), two teams that know each other very well.
“It’s important to the kids. They really want to beat their friends,” said Jarocki.
“Thuderridge is a very good team and we do have a rivalry with them, so there is a lot of pride for us to get the W,” Neuhaus said.
The Falcons received contributions from a cast of characters. Jalyn Yates had nine points. Shelby Hickey had seven. Ciera Morgan had seven. Logan Opheim had 8. Abriana Lujan had nine…The Falcons finished with 15 steals… Highlands Ranch dropped 28 points in the first quarter, but didn’t score more than 14 points in the next three quarters…Thunderridge was much better from the free throw line. They were 11 of 16 (69%). Highlands Ranch was 6 of 15 (40%)… Each team has just two games left before the playoffs begin.
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