ARVADA — Saying Ralston Valley’s defense was stellar on Jan. 26 would be an understatement.
Ralston Valley — No. 8 in this week’s CHSAANow.com Class 5A girls basketball rankings — put an end to Arvada West’s 7-game winning streak in a 38-15 victory for the Mustangs.
“Very good,” Ralston Valley coach Jeff Gomer said of the defensive effort. “We’ve been very good defensively. Offensively we’ve struggled at times and we have the ability to putting up points. We’ve been able to lean on the defense.”
Ralston Valley (11-4, 2-0 in 5A Jeffco) held the Wildcats (12-4, 1-1) to a season-low 15 points. A-West made just four field goals in the conference game at Arvada West High School.
“Defense was our No. 1 priory,” Ralston Valley senior Saya Sabus said. “Once you establish yourself on defense you can grow your offense. That is what we were really focused on. From the start, we had the focus that we weren’t going to lose to A-West.”
A-West scored 5 points or less in every quarter. Senior Amanda Neff had a team-high 6 points, which included going 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.
Ralston Valley’s offense wasn’t a juggernaut by any means. The Mustangs was held to single digits in every quarter until pouring in 13 points in the fourth quarter to push the lead above 20 points.
Ralston Valley’s lone senior — Saya Sabus — was scoreless in the first half before finishing with 7 points on the night. Freshmen Sophia Sabus (Saya’s younger sister) and Kailey Townsend combined for 23 points to help hand A-West its first loss since Dec. 14.
“It’s been a rival a long time before I came into it,” Saya Sabus said. “It definitely was a high priority to win this game.”
Saya Sabus has been a staple for Ralston Valley’s girls basketball program for four years. She has averaged nearly 12 points per game since her freshman year and is nearing the 1,000-point career mark.
The senior guard has already announced her commitment to play hoops at Colorado School of Mines next school year.
“It’s a tremendous relief,” Saya Sabus said about heading to Mines, currently ranked No. 5 in Division II. “Knowing that I have something to look forward too and work toward.”
Wednesday was also the conference opener for Ralston Valley, who along with the rest of the 5A Jeffco League will attempt to knock off the defending state champion Valor Christian during conference play.
“Valor is good without question,” Gomer said of the top-ranked team in 5A. “We don’t want to concede anything. This team is pretty resilient.”
Ralston Valley played a pretty tough non-league schedule that included No. 3 Monarch and facing 4A’s No. 2 Mullen twice. The Mustangs dropped a non-league game against No. 9 Columbine before winter break.
Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.