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Tipping Off…Girl’s Basketball

No. 6 Mustangs ready for challenge of opening season against top-ranked Grandview

Samantha Van Sickle ('18) is the Mustangs only returning starter from a team that finished 24-2 last year. Van Sickle, who has signed to play in college at Colorado School of Mines, will help lead the Mustangs into their season opener, tonight, at home, against top-ranked Grandview.

(Matt Mathewes/MVPSportsPics.com)

Samantha Van Sickle ('18) is the Mustangs only returning starter from a team that finished 24-2 last year. Van Sickle, who has signed to play in college at Colorado School of Mines, will help lead the Mustangs into their season opener, tonight, at home, against top-ranked Grandview.

Jeff Fleischman, Adviser

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Who: No. 1 Grandview Wolves @ No. 6 Ralston Valley Mustangs

What: Season Opener for both teams

When: Tonight, 7 p.m.

Where: Ralston Valley High School

 

Grandview Wolves

Coach: Josh Ulitzky

Last Year: 27-1 Overall, Colorado Class 5A State Champions

Last meeting: Dec. 2, 2016 – Grandview won 62-52 at Grandview

Projected Starters: G #3 Jaiden Galloway (5-5, SR), G #22 Allyah Marlett (5-9, JR), F #34 Leilah Vigil (5-10, SR), F #5 Alisha Davis (6-1, JR), F #44 Addison O’Grady (6-3, FR)

 

Ralston Valley Mustangs

Coach: Jeff Gomer

Last Year: 24-2 Overall, lost to Cherry Creek in Colorado Class 5A Elite Eight

Projected Starters: G #33 Sydney Bevington (6-0, FR), G #10 Samantha Van Sickle (6-2, SR), F #23 Alessia Capley (6-1, SR), F #15 Shelby Nichols (6-2, SR), C #13 Delaynie Byrne (6-3, SR)

 

STORYLINES:

  1. DEBUT FOR DB: It was one long year away from the high school basketball court for the Mustangs Delaynie Byrne (’18), but she is set to make her debut tonight for Ralston Valley. “It would have been nice to have her last year,” said RV teammate Samantha Van Sickle (’18). “She’s a good shooter, and she does so many good things on the floor for us.” Byrne signed in early November to play collegiately at the University of Minnesota.
  2. RIGHT TO IT: As has been the case under head coach Jeff Gomer, Ralston Valley does not mess around with its preseason schedule. Tonight, the Mustangs take on No. 1 Grandview. The rest of the non-conference schedule includes Palmer, Arapahoe, Rampart, Broomfield, and Monarch. Jefferson Conference opponents, outside of Lakewood, have not provided a huge challenge for the Mustangs during the regular season, so the Mustangs have gotten themselves tournament ready by playing top-ranked teams during the non-conference portion of the schedule. “Right off the bat, it’s a real, good test for us,” Van Sickle said. “We are really looking forward to it.”
  3. IN THE ZONE: One of the staples of Gomer’s coaching career has been an up-tempo system grounded in strong man-to-man defensive fundamentals. However, this year, with a starting five all over 6-feet tall, the Mustangs have been working diligently to incorporate zone defense principles throughout preseason practice. “Defensively, we’re going to be more of a zone team,” Van Sickle said. “We’re going to play to our strengths.”
  4. FRESH FACES: Both teams, in addition to having a great group of upperclassmen, will start a freshman in tonight’s season opener. For the Mustangs, Sydney Bevington (’21) is a 6-foot point guard who will step right into the RV starting lineup. “Sydney can play,” Van Sickle said. “She can do a lot of things to help us win.” On the Grandview side, the Wolves showcase one of the top freshmen in the entire country in Addison O’Grady. “Addison’s very skilled, athletic and fits in well with our group,” Grandview coach Josh Ulitzky told The Denver Post this past summer. “Plus, she’s 6-3 with long arms, she can defend well and she’s solid around the basket. She’s been a great addition to our team.”
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