Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley

Girls Basketball: Cougar offense comes alive in season opening win over Frederick


December 9, 2016

Photo by Ed Navarro Niwot guard Yingying Chen drives against Erie.

The Cougars kicked off their 2016-17 season with an impressive 55-43 victory over the Frederick Warriors at home last Wednesday night. Sophomore center Zoe Gonzales led all scorers, with 18 points, while nabbing 11 rebounds. The six-foot-three Gonzales also had seven blocks.

Meanwhile, her junior teammates Allie Colvin and Sophie Grant combined for another 20 points, leading Niwot to scoring heights rarely seen last season.

For head coach Terri Ward, now in her fourth year after returning from retirement, this high flying offense is a new, but welcome addition.

“Offensively, we’re a whole lot better this year than we were,” said Ward. “Last year, we had to depend on being a strong defensive team.”

Niwot came out of the gates quickly in the opener. After Gonzales scored within the first minute of play, the Cougars were off and running, and never faced a serious threat from the Warriors. Niwot led 21-14 at the half, and then outscored Frederick 34-29 in the second half to put the game away.

Ward liked the poise she saw in her shooters, especially Colvin, who was three for three behind the three-point line.

“She’s a good shooter, and I’m pleased that she felt enough confidence to take those shots,” said Ward.

Niwot played well on both sides of the ball, with strong defensive efforts from junior forward Rosie Setter, who matched Colvin with seven rebounds, and junior Mary Gillett, who had four rebounds and a block. Senior point guard YY Chen had two rebounds, four assists and a block.

The Cougars were back in action on Dec. 2 at home against the Erie Tigers. Despite a strong second half effort, Niwot was unable to overcome a slow start, and fell to the Tigers 56-52.

“We took a while to get going,” said Ward. “Erie’s a very good team.”

The Tigers held Gonzales to 14 points on the night. Grant, who was 6 for 7 in free throws, scored 12 points. Chen, who had just three points against Frederick, scored 11 against Erie, including both of the Cougars’ three-point shots. Junior Shelby Stevens, filling in for Jamie Lee, added three points.

“I thought our guards played really well,” said Ward.

Unfortunately, Niwot had no answer for Erie junior Mckayley Green, who had 29 points on the night. Green, a 5-foot-10 forward, averaged 11.7 points per game last year as a sophomore.

“Our post defense wasn’t that good,” Ward explained. Despite the loss, Ward likes what she sees in her team so far, even if it is early in the season.

“We’re working hard,” said the coach. “Our offense looks pretty good, and our defense can get better. That’s what you want right now — to know that you’re going to get progressively better as the season goes on.”

The Cougars went to Mead for their first road game on Dec. 5. They are back on the road at Skyline on Dec. 13, followed by road games at Berthoud on Dec. 16 and Skyview (at the Pepsi Center) on Dec. 19.

(11/30) — Niwot 55, Frederick 43

Frederick (0-1, 0-0) 7 7 13 16 — 43

Niwot (1-0, 0-0) 14 7 18 16 — 55

Ali Mercier 1 0-0 2, Allie Colvin 3 0-0 9, Rosie Setter 0 4-4 4, YY Chen 0 3-6 3, Meah Ricciardello 0 2-4 2, Mary Gillett 1 2-4 4, Zoe Gonzales 8 2-6 18, Sophie Grant 3 5-6 11, Shelby Stevens 1 0-0 2. Totals 17 18-30 55.

(12/2) — Erie 56, Niwot 52

Erie (1-0, 0-0) 10 17 13 16 — 56

Niwot (1-1, 0-0) 10 10 20 12 — 52

Rosie Setter 1 0-0 2, YY Chen 4 1-2 11, Mary Gillett 3 3-5 9, Zoe Gonzales 7 0-5 14, Sophie Grant 3 6-7 12, Shelby Stevens 1 1-2 3. Totals 19 11-18 52.


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