ARVADA — Ralston Valley senior Finley Timon delivered in the clutch on rivalry night at the Mustang Range.
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Timon drilled a 3-pointer with 13 seconds to play, giving the Mustangs a 36-35 home victory over cross-town rival Arvada West on Jan. 13.
“To be honest, no thoughts in my head,” Timon said with a laugh about her game-winning shot. “It was just release and whatever happens, happens.”
What happened next was a turnover by the Wildcats with 8 seconds. Ralston Valley took possession and ran out the final seconds in the Class 6A Jeffco League opener for both teams.
“We run our offense and we run it through until we get a good quality shot,” Ralston Valley coach Amy Bahl said. “That last minute I teetered on taking a timeout, but I didn’t. I think they trusted the play, running it out and a shot was going to get open and develop.”
It wasn’t a stellar shooting night for Ralston Valley — No. 8 in the latest CHSAANow.com 6A girls rankings — by any means. The Mustangs (9-3, 1-0) were just 13-for-49 shooting from the field.
“I do feel like we are better shooters than what we’ve been shooting,” Bahl said. “The one thing we can always control is our defense. That is going to be our MO I guess, just try to grind it out on the defensive end.”
Ralston Valley held A-West (11-2, 0-1) to single-digit points in every quarter except the second quarter. A-West senior Ellie Pugliese poured in 8 points in the second quarter to help the Wildcats erase an early 13-4 lead by Ralston Valley.
A-West came in on a 7-game winning streak, but where held to a season-low 35 points.
“This is a big game to start off conference,” Bahl said. “(A-West) is a good solid team. It was a great win for us and a good boost going into conference for sure.”
Timon gave Ralston Valley a much-needed offensive boost in the second half. After going scoreless in the first half the senior hit a trio of 3-pointers after halftime. She actually made the final two baskets for the Mustangs.
A-West sophomore Saylor Swanson drained a 3-pointer with 2:20 left in the game to give the Wildcats a 33-30 lead. Timon answered 20 seconds later with a 3-pointer to tie things up 33-33.
Swanson made a pair of free throws with 1:11 left to give the A-West a 35-33 lead, but Timon’s final 3-pointer sent the Mustang fans into a frenzy in the packed gym.
“We play a lot of games like that where it is close and intense,” Timon said.
Ralston Valley junior Sophia Sabus contributed 10 points and senior Ciana Wilder had a nice game with 8 points. Pugliese had a team-high 10 points for the Wildcats. Senior Brooks Meeks added 8 points in the loss.
A-West might not have got the victory, but the Wildcats know they can for sure compete with Ralston Valley this year. The Mustangs have dominated the rivalry on the girls basketball court over the past 20 years.
“It will be a bigger gym and defintely more purple,” Timon said of the second go-around versus A-West in the Wildcats’ gym on Feb. 4. “It will be louder noise from their crowd. We’ll see how it goes.”
Dennis Pleuss is the sports information director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.
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