Sierra Grande defeats Miners in quarterfinal matchup

Vigil totals 27, Panthers are on to semifinals

Abby Corona (left) of  and Chloe McComas (3) meet up during Wednesday night's quarterfinals game. Corona would net 25 points as the Panthers earned the victory.

BLANCA — The district basketball tournaments continue to roll on. In Blanca the Creede girls took on the host Panthers. Sierra Grande would take a 71-50 final Wednesday night to advance in the district tournament.

Both teams reside within the 1A Southern Peaks league. Sierra Grande awaited a dance partner from the play in brackets earlier in the week. After a weather delay, Creede dispatched Manzanola in a 53-17 game. Setting the stage for a quarterfinal win or go home game between the Panthers and Miners.

When these teams met in the regular season it got a little lopsided with Sierra Grande taking a 50-35 victory on Feb. 3. On that day Abby Corona would take the lead in scoring and steals with 15 and 7 respectively. Nina Vigil also had a good day and was a rebound short of a double-double hitting 10 from the field and pulling down 9 boards.

On Wednesday night things didn’t start so smoothly for Sierra Grande when Creede refused to go away. With an early 3-pointer from Jennifer Kemper, Creede was able to tie things up at 5 apiece early. Kemper was second on the team in scoring with 10 points.

After going point for point Sierra Grande found some free space and closed the first act with a 19-14 advantage. Abby Corona would pace the Panthers in scoring through the first with 2 treys and 11 points. Corona was second on the team in scoring with 25 points. When the second highest scorer collects 25 points, the offense is running well.

Creede couldn’t continue to produce at the same pace as the Panthers in the second quarter, succumbing to turnovers and offensive miscues. Sierra Grande took advantage of their opponent’s slowed offense by widening the gap to a 34-22 score by the break.

Nina Vigil fires a jumper during Sierra Grande's win on Wednesday night. Vigil led the Panthers with 27 points.

Nina Vigil for Sierra Grande would come out in the third quarter fully wound. Vigil would knock down three buckets from downtown en route to collecting 15 of the Panthers 19 third quarter points. Vigil was Sierra Grande’s leading scorer on the night with 27 points. Vigil didn't miss the double-double Wednesday night with 11 rebounds added to her 27 points.

Creede would have their best eight minutes of the game in the fourth with 17 points, six of those credited to Chloe McComas. McComas took the scoring title for the Miners totaling 13 points on the night. Despite the ramped up production Creede would not gain any further ground as the game reached its conclusion.  
With the win Sierra Grande gains entry to Plachy Hall at Adams State on Friday for the 1A Southern Peaks District semifinals. Sierra Grande will face Antonito. The last time these two teams met was in Blanca on Jan. 19. Antonito lost Erykah Tallman for the game to a leg injury and Sierra Grande struck to take a 61-51 victory.

Creede's Chloe McComas slips by Nina Vigil. McComas was Creede's top scorer with 13 points. (Courier photos by Stephen Jiron)

When they meet again on Friday Antonito will be eager to show what they can do with a healthy roster while Sierra Grande will look to repeat their success, no matter who plays.