AURORA – Seeing Woodland Park senior Isabella Slocum commandeering the second quarter of the 2023 Colorado Coaches of Girls’ Sports All-State Class 3A game could have been considered something out of a basketball player’s bad dream.
Especially Harmony Reynolds’ or Laci Brunson’s.
Both Ignacio seniors had faced her firsthand just over two weeks prior in the 3A-Region VI semifinals up in Kersey – after event-hosting Platte Valley, led by seniors Andi Schissler and Bree Bunting, had decimated Rocky Ford by 44 points in the first semi.
PVHS’ potent pair were also placed with WPHS’ power post Sunday inside Grandview High School Gymnasium against IHS’ talented tandem. With Schissler sinking two three-pointers, Bunting scoring a two-pointer and Colorado Springs-based Fountain Valley’s Grace Stansbury draining a trey, the ‘Red’ team raced out to an 11-0 lead 3:03 into the opening quarter and managed to keep Blue at bay the rest of the way in prevailing 75-54.
“Felt like a dream to go out (of high school basketball) with Harmony because no matter if we were winning or losing, we were having fun together,” said Brunson, who drilled a three off the left wing during the third quarter, and added a fourth-quarter deuce for her five points. “It was an honor …. Means a lot that I got ‘All-State’ in basketball.”
“Playing with everybody that has the same talent – it was fun to watch everybody,” Reynolds said. “I mean, I’ve never seen those girls but they were pretty good.”
Blue trailed Red 18-10 after the first quarter, thanks to gaining some momentum via two Hailey Blanchard (Colorado Springs The Vanguard School) triples. Blue would have been in better position at halftime to contend, but Slocum asserted herself in the paint to score four baskets and Blue went into intermission down 35-25.
During the mid-game pause, Blue head coach Anthony Wilson (Brush H.S.) assigned Reynolds to shadow Slocum … and she held her to just two close-range buckets the rest of the way.
Luckily for Red, shooters Amaya Garcia – of Ignacio’s Intermountain League rival Centauri, no less – and Payton Carver (Hotchkiss North Fork) totaled two threes and 10 third-quarter points, offsetting Ellicott perimeter threat Alyssa Lagasse’s two treys and eight points for Blue during the same stanza.
Garcia sent the contest into its final frame with a three keeping Red ahead, 55-42. Carver then combined with NFHS teammate Delilah Vasquez to register 10 of the eventual victors’ last 20 points. Slocum converted a three-point play down the stretch and ended up totaling 15 points – equaling Blanchard’s count. Schissler and Carver each totaled 12. Bunting and Vasquez each finished with 10 points, Stansbury totaled seven, Garcia five and Strasburg’s Autumn Stone four.
Mirroring Blanchard’s three threes in defeat, Lagasse totaled 11 points. FVHS’ Ava Warner, opposing her teammate Stansbury, ended up with eight. Brush’s Kashlynn Tadolini chipped in four, Fort Collins Liberty Common’s Ruby Richardson three and Estes Park’s Bree Wilkerson two.
Reynolds ended up scoring six points, with her last hoop resulting from running ahead of pursuers and onto a lengthy Brunson outlet pass for an easy transition layup – a play seen frequently during the duo’s decorated days at IHS.
“Honestly, I had a blast,” Reynolds said. “I mean, she is my best friend and so I don’t think I could have done it without her; we do everything together.”
And that included receiving the news initially naming them CCGS All-Staters.
“It’s a goal I’ve wished to accomplish for a long time,” Brunson said. “I’d found out that I was picked, and then the (CCGS) lady called and told us that Harmony was picked – we were sitting in our cars and Harmony screamed! Then I started screaming! We were just so excited we’d both made it; we couldn’t have imagined it any other way.”
“And it was a fun experience to play with girls that knew basketball like we did.”