Warriors fall to Jaguars in playoffs

Arapahoe girls can’t overcome poor shooting in first half

Paul DiSalvo
Mikaela Moore (40) launches a jumper over Rock Canyon’s Lexy Thorderson (32) . Moore was one of two Arapahoe scorers with 12 points.
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Arapahoe’s season came to an abrupt halt as poor first-half shooting dumped the Warriors into a hole they couldn’t get out of.

Rock Canyon grabbed a quick 10-0 lead en route to a 60-44 triumph over Arapahoe Feb. 28 in a Class 5A second-round girls state playoff game.

The cold-shooting Warriors finally scored when Mikaela Moore made the second of two free throws with 1:22 to play in the first quarter.

From the field, Arapahoe missed on its first 11 shots before Jennah Knafelc finally hit a 3-point shot with 17 seconds remaining in the opening quarter.

“We just didn’t shoot well in the first half,” said Arapahoe coach Jerry Knafelc. “We played reasonably good defense most of the time. We played them even in the second half because we just shot better. We were more patient and we knew what we needed to do.

“I’m not discrediting Rock Canyon. It wasn’t because the defense was great. We just shot poorly. We got the shots. We spotted them too much. They are a very good team, very talented. Hats off to them, they did what they needed to do to win.”

Arapahoe, which downed Liberty 50-31 in the first round, played better in the second half but Rock Canyon pushed its lead to 21 points multiple times in the half. The Warriors, who finished the game shooting 34 percent from the floor, could pull no closer than 13 points with 4:23 left in the game.

Knafelc and Moore each scored 12 points for Arapahoe to lead the Warriors, which had to deal with the Dec. 13 shooting at their school and concluded their season with a 15-10 record.

“I have so much respect for our players and their ability to try to put that behind them and focus on basketball,” said Jerry Knafelc.

“They did a great job and I admire them for their work ethic and focus.”

Rock Canyon (17-7) got contributions from a variety of players in the win.

Senior Lexy Thorderson scored from inside and outside, pacing the Jaguars with 16 points, including netting four 3-pointers. Morgan Roos scored 14 points and was credited with 14 rebounds and five blocked shots for the Jaguars.

Kendall Koslosky finished with 11 points, Delaney Sullivan had seven, Kendall Smith six and Erin McClarie six points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

“We talked about getting a quick start and not ever having to play from behind,” said Rock Canyon coach Becky Mudd. “We wanted to get out early. That was a key for us.”

Rock Canyon traveled to Cherry Creek to face the Bruins in a March 4 Sweet Sixteen game.

The game was played after Colorado Community Media’s print deadline.