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Photo courtesy Amie Henderson Cedaredge coach Ryan Hilbig (background) walks the sideline as his junior point guard, Courtney Freeman moves the ball up court.
Photo courtesy Amie Henderson Cedaredge senior Grace Andrews (2) prepares to either screen for Courtney Freeman or receive the ball.
Photo courtesy Amie Henderson St. Mary’s Brooklyn Valdez is met by three Cedaredge Bruins as she attempts to get to the rim last week in the 3A state basketball tournament held at Denver University. Bruin defenders Camie Baldozier (12), Kammie Henderson (4) and Grace Andrews (2) prevented Valdez from getting a shot. St. Mary’s won the game 64-33 and went on to win the state title.

Bruin girls hoop team 21-4

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The 2017-18 girls basketball season was a successful one for Cedaredge High School.

The Bruins led the 3A WSL for most of the season before being overhauled late in the season and finishing in a four-way tie at the top of league standings with a 7-2 record. Moffat County was the top team with Grand Valley, Cedaredge and Delta filling out the top four spots.

Cedaredge moved through the early stages of this year's state championships with wins over Liberty Common (35-24) and Jefferson Adademy (38-35) before falling to this year's state champions St. Mary's 64-33 last weekend. The Bruins finished the year with a more-than-respectable record of 21-4.

St. Mary's finished the year with a 26-1 mark and a state title while Colorado Springs Christian finished second with a 23-4 record. Lamar, the third-place team in Class 3A, finished the year with a 22-5 record and Moffat County was fourth with its record of 20-7.

Against St. Mary's on March 8, Cedaredge could not find its offense in the first quarter and had to be content with Addison Schwarz's one for two free throw performance. St. Mary's senior Makenna Bodette scored 12 of her team's 22 first quarter points helping the Pirates sail to a huge advantage Cedaredge would not be able to overcome.

Bodette added another six points to her totals in the second quarter boosting St. Mary's lead to 37-10 by halftime. Grace Andrews hit a pair of three-pointers for Cedaredge to keep the Bruins within shouting distance in a 15-9 second-quarter of a Pirates' run.

St. Mary's scoring advantage remained high in the second half, but it was not the scoring of Bodette that fueled the Pirates' offense. Sophomores Josephine Howery scored eight points and Catherine Cummings added nine in the second half to pick up the scoring slack. Bodette had just four points in the second half, but finished with 24 to lead all scorers in the game.

Cedaredge showed some signs of its season-long defensive ability by limiting the Pirates to just 10 points in the third quarter. The Bruins' offense, with four points each from junior Courtney Freeman and freshman Kammie Henderson, outscored St. Mary's 12-10 in the third quarter.

The Pirates put together a strong fourth quarter offensively to finish the game with a 17-11 run for the 64-33 win.

Cedaredge coach Ryan Hilbig hinted he was a bit bummed by the recent loss to St. Mary's. He also noted his Bruins played a really good team and that the Pirates were, "the real deal."

"I'm so glad we made the tournament and regretful we got the best the tournament had to offer in the first game," said Hilbig.

In assessing the top two reasons the Bruins lost to St. Mary's, Hilbig said turnovers and rebounding were the keys. "We had 14 turnovers in the first half and had just three offensive rebounds for the whole game. If we missed a shot, they got the rebound and had a fastbreaking team that scored at the other end."

Another tone-setting fact in the game was the first few minutes of the game. "We ran our first play and had a wide open layup that rimmed out after we had just gotten a defensive stop," quoted Hilbig.

For Hilbig the basketball journey at Cedaredge High School has all but come to an end. The search for a new coach is on and Hilbig is still working on a summer schedule and plans to assist until a replacement is found and he moves on.

Hilbig will have one final shot as the Cedaredge coach in this weekend's Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports game where he was selected to coach one of the teams. Cedaredge senior Jade McGovern was also selected to play in the seniors' only game.

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