Grady senior Kevin Brown goes over the back of a Logan’s Chris Martinez for a rebound during last week’s District 4-1A tournament championship game. CNJ photo by Rick White.
By Rick White
Their problems are at opposite ends of the coaching spectrum.
Grady girls coach Alicia Rush is trying to guard against overconfidence heading into Friday’s Class 1A Region A girls semifinal game against Roy.
Meanwhile, Grady boys coach Ken Kostedt is trying to convince his upstart Bronchos they can beat state-ranked Springer in the Region A semifinals at Springer.
At stake for both Grady teams is a trip to next week’s state basketball tournament.
“All we’ve been talking all week is Roy,” said Rush, who is a win away from her 100th coaching victory at Grady. “I keep reminding them that anybody can beat anybody this time of year.”
Rush should know. Three years ago, Grady was the top-ranked team heading into the state tournament, but was upset by Roy in the first round.
“I remember that. But the kids on the team were in eighth grade then, so it’s hard to get them to understand.”
Also working against is the sixth year coach heading into Friday’s game is the Lady Bronchos (23-4) routed Roy 61-26 earlier this season and a two-time state champion Des Moines will likely be waiting for Grady in Saturday’s regional championship game.
Roy (18-9), which finished second behind Des Moines in District 1-1A, has a solid inside game led by junior posts Stacy Costa and Jessica Fluhmans.
Roy coach Kirk Mann feels who controls the tempo will likely decide the game.
“Our biggest key is trying to slow down Grady’s transition game and make it get into a halfcourt game,” Mann said.
Kostedt would also like to see a more moderate tempo against a veteran Springer team that beat Des Moines four times in five meetings — and Des Moines handed Grady its worst loss of the season two weeks ago.
“We’re just hoping to slow them down a little bit,” the second-year coach said. “We’ve got to take care of the ball, because if we don’t, Springer will be going the other way in a hurry.”
Grady (14-13), making its first regional appearance in five years, is led by the inside-outside duo of juniors John Schueler and Jarrod Lindsey.
The Red Devils (24-3) counter with a sharp-shooting bunch led by seniors Matt Tafoya (20 points per game) and 6-3 post Brandon Wadington (10 points, 10 rebounds).
“We’re just hoping to keep it close,” Kostedt said. “Just playing in the regional is going to be a good experience.”
vs. Grady (23-4), 5 p.m.
Last regional appearance: Roy, 2001. Grady, 2003.
How they got here: Roy is 1-1A runnerup. Grady is 4-1A champion.
Coaches: Roy, Kirk Mann, 1st year. Grady, Alicia Rush, 6th.
Players to watch: Roy, Stacy Costa, 6-0, Jr., P (12 ppg, 9 rpg); Jessica Fluhmans, 5-9, Jr., P (11 ppg, 7 rpg). Grady, Jennifer Blackburn, 5-6, Jr., P; Brittany Bailey, 5-4, Jr., PG.
Did you know? Rush can earn her 100th coaching win at Grady on Friday.
By the numbers: Roy has won three girls state basketball titles since 1991.
Quotable: “Our biggest key is to slow Grady’s transition game and make it a halfcourt game.” — Roy coach Kirk Mann.
Des Moines (24-1)
vs. House (15-7), 7 p.m.
Last regional appearance: Des Moines, 2003. House, 2002.
How they got here: Des Moines is 1-1A champion. House is 4-1A runnerup.
Coaches: Joey Montoya, 2nd. House, Jason Lee, 3rd
Players to watch: Des Moines, Jodi Kibbe, 5-3, Sr., G (16 ppg); Annie Kennedy, 5-10, Sr., P (14 ppg). House, Haily Lee, 5-5, Sr., G (18 ppg, 9 rpg), Lindsy Lee, 5-5, Jr., G (16 ppg, 7 rpg).
Did you know? House’s only appearance in the state tournament was in 2002.
The skinny: With it size size — the Lady Demons have two players over 6-foot, including 6-3 sophomore Kelli Goodan — and experience, Des Moines is the favorite to add a third straight state title.
By the numbers: Des Moines has won 21 straight games.
Quotable: “We need to make better decisions. Sometimes we try to force things because we’re trying to do too much.” — Des Moines coach Joey Montoya.
Championship game: 2 p.m. Saturday
vs. Springer (24-3), 6 p.m.
Last regional appearance: Grady, 1999. Springer, 2002.
How they got here: Grady is 4-1A runnerup. Springer is 1-1A champion.
Coaches: Grady, Ken Kostedt, 2nd year; Springer, Eloy Brazil, 15th.
Players to watch: Grady, Jarrod Lindsey, 5-11, Jr., G (16 ppg, 6 apg); John Schueler, 6-2, Jr., P (13 ppg, 10 rpg). Springer, Matthew Tafoya, 6-0, Sr., F (20 ppg); Brandon Wadington, 6-3, Sr., P (10 ppg, 10 rpg).
Did you know? Grady won a state title and twice finished runnerup from 1995-99.
The skinny: Led by Tafoya, the Red Devils shoot the ball well and are deadly in transtition.
By the numbers: Grady is making its first regional appearance in five years.
Quotable: “The main thing is to play our game and establish the tempo.” — Springer coach Eloy Brazil.
vs. Des Moines (22-7), 6 p.m.
Last regional appearance: Logan, 2002. Des Moines, 2002
How they got here: Logan is 4-1A champion. Des Moines is 1-1A runnerup
Coaches: Logan, Jerry Franklin. Des Moines, Dwayne Kibbe, 7th
Players to watch: Logan, Kirk Burns, 6-2, Sr., F; Drew Perez, 5-11, So. G. Des Moines, Ben Dogherty, 5-10, So., F (16 ppg, 8.5 rpg), Josh Jacobs, 5-11, Sr., F (15.7 ppg, 7.5 rpg).
Did you know? Kibbe won five basketball and three volleyball state titles at Floyd.
The skinny: The scorekeeper will be busy because both teams use their bench liberally.
By the numbers: Des Moines has out-rebounded 29 of its 30 opponents.
Quotable: “You never know what Jerry’s going to come up with.” — Des Moines coach Dwayne Kibbe.
Championship game: 7 p.m. Saturday.