Filling chunky shoes, Coal Ridge girls’ basketball cooks through early slate
The Titans lost much of their basketball rotation when Taylor Wiescamp graduated in the spring.
The offensive engine of the Coal Ridge High School girls’ basketball team over the past three seasons was gone, to play volleyball at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling. In the air went 17 points per game and eight rebounds. No new parts matched the void perfectly, meaning the Titans had to replace Wiescamp’s production by committee.
They more than managed to do it early in the season and are 6-1 until the holiday break.
“We knew there would be a big void to fill in the coming season, and instead of just one person taking on that role, I think we took on that role as a team,” said senior Railey Largent. “We all make an effort to make sure that gap is closed, and we each contribute not only points, but each person contributes steals, assists. It is not from one person.
The Titans started the 2021-22 season on a four-game winning streak before dropping to Aurora’s Vista Peak Prep class 5A on December 9. They rebounded by beating Faith Christian, 52-17, and knocking down 3A Western Slope League contender Moffat. County, 51-37, in a non-league game on Dec.11.
Heading into the league, the Titans are halfway through their spring season winning tally, which was the best schedule since 2013-14.
“This start is huge for us,” said Coal Ridge coach Clyde Morgan. “We are a little different team from last year after losing (Wiescamp). Just the way we start out, I think, has created a lot of trust with the girls. “
No player has impacted the Spring 2021 Titans like Wiescamp. No other player has averaged double-digit – although Jackie Camunez’s 9.9 in sophomore has come as close as it gets – and his 8.8 boards per game more than doubled Mikayla Cheney’s second place , then in second year.
Coal Ridge hit a 12-4 record, although their 3-3 league record kept them in fourth place in the WSL when the pandemic season was said and over.
Yet without Wiescamp, the majority of contributors returned. Wiescamp and Kallie Bumgardner were the only graduates, and four of the eight players to play in all 16 games were sophomores.
Camunez, Cheney, Largent, Clara Carranza, and Aceleigh Porter all have college backgrounds. Danica Bagett, the fifth member of the starting lineup, played four games in the freshman.
Silver, who transferred from De Beque before last season, was relegated to junior college in the spring due to transfer rules, but was a playmaker as a rookie for De Beque’s squad who s ‘made it to the State 1A playoffs in 2019.
“I think assists are an important thing,” Largent said. “You have to give people the opportunity to score, and I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job of finding open people.”
Largent said each of the team’s players finds a role to complete the package – Carranza holds the post, Camunez finds the net, Cheney controls the backcourt and provides a secondary score and Bagett flexes between the wing and the post for fill gaps.
Across seven games, the pieces came together to form an interwoven winning formula.
“This is the kind of system that we will have to be able to run in order to compete,” Morgan said. “We don’t have that dominant inner presence like we did before, so we had to change things up a bit. This is the kind of direction in which we will need to be in the next few years. “
The Titans return to action on Jan. 4 with a non-championship game against Grand Junction Central. The WSL season begins for them on January 8 against North Fork.