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McClave High girls basketball seek return to Colorado 1A state tournament

Ken Hamrick
LA Junta Tribune
McClave High School's Anna Beckett makes a move to the basket against Cheraw last season.

The McClave High School girls basketball team is coming off a successful season in 2019-20.

The Cardinals won 16 games and lost seven and finished second in the High Plains League. They then went on to win the Class 1A District 2 championship and played in the Class 1A State Tournament.

However, McClave played only one game at state before the rest of the tournament was canceled because of COVID-19.

"We made a goal last year to get to the state tournament and we were able to achieve that goal," said McClave coach Brianne Howe. "We made some great strides for the McClave basketball program. It was a season of wonderful memories and every member of the team had such a strong team mentality."

There's even more good news for the Cardinals as they return seven players including four starters.

Among the returning players is Anna Beckett, who was a first team all-league and honorable mention all-state selection. She averaged 15.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 4.2 steals per game.

Also returning are Maggie Chase, who was also first team all-league, and McKenzie Kiniston, who was honorable mention all-league. Chase averaged 8.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.6 steals per game, while Kiniston averaged 3 points and 5 rebounds per game.

Other returning players include Tehya Dickerson, who averaged 3 points and 3 rebounds per game, and Gentry Martin, who averaged 2.5 points and 2.4 rebounds per game.

Howe said that Beckett and Chase will be two of the top guards in the state.

Also returning is Kennedy Vallejos, who started late in the season. She adds speed and quickness to the team.

McClave did lose the services of Katie Roesch, who was second team all-league and was on the all-league defensive team. Another loss is Katie Bronniman.

The Cardinals have some impressive freshmen in McKayla Kiniston, Ajah Moreno and Ciara Solis.

Howe said that the goal is to return to state, but it will be more difficult.

"This year, we have to win the league to be guaranteed to play in the state tournament," Howe said. "It will be a tough job this year. Kit Carson has a great tradition of basketball and is always very good. Eads will be tough as they advanced to regionals last year. Cheraw also returns most of their team and is very solid.

"Our goal is always to be the best," Howe added. "We set high expectations as a team and always believe we can reach our goals. We want to win every game and learn from our mistakes. That is a team motto for this year. Always outwork our opponents."

2021 McClave High School girls basketball schedule

Date; Opponent; Time

Jan. 28; At Manzanola; 78-4 W

Jan. 29; STRATTON/LIBERTY; 66-36 W

Feb. 6; ROCKY FORD; 48-56 L

Feb. 9; At Wiley; 3 p.m.

Feb. 12; EADS*; 4 p.m.

Feb. 13; HI-PLAINS/FLAGLER; 3 p.m.

Feb. 16; At Granada*; 4 p.m.

Feb. 18; At La Veta; 4 p.n.

Feb. 19; CHEYENNE WELLS; 4 p.m.

Feb. 25; SPRINGFIELD; 4:30 p.m.

Feb. 26; At Cheraw*; 4 p.m.

Feb. 27; At Kim/Branson+; 1 p.m.

March 4; SOUTH BACA; 4 p.m.

March 5; At Kit Carson*; 4 p.m.

Home games in CAPITAL LETTERS at Cardinal Gym

+ At Kim

Tribune-Democrat reporter Ken Hamrick can be reached by email atKHamrick1@gannett.com