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Mesa Ridge relies on Rudd in victory with Shook out injured
With 6-foot-4 star center Kylee Shook out, Sammi Rudd, Mesa Ridge’s only other 6-footer, stepped up and closed the door on Windsor (21-4) Saturday.
Rudd scored five of her nine points in the first 2 minutes of the fourth quarter and the 25-0 host Grizzlies moved onto the quarterfinals after a 59-38 win.
Rudd, a junior, knew she had to step up with the team’s leader in points, rebounds and blocks out.
“It is my responsibility to get my team going (in the paint),” said Rudd, who also had three offensive rebounds in the final frame. “That’s what I feel like we’ll need.”
Freshman Shook’s presence was sorely missed, and it may get worse if the Grizzlies are without their double-double machine.
“We don’t know how bad it is,” coach Jeff Beatty said about Shook’s ankle, which she rolled late in Friday’s game. “She’s going to be looked at and we’ll know by Monday or Tuesday.”
Gabby Purnell and Mische Hubbard each scored 10, and the Grizzlies pulled away for good early in the fourth thanks to a 9-0 run.
“We played for Kylee,” Purnell said. “We all need to step up with her out.”
After Windsor center Brooke Pemberton, who had a game-high 23 points, led the Wizards on a 7-0 run to close the quarter, Mesa Ridge came out attacking on both ends in the fourth.
First, Rudd grabbed an offensive rebound and finished off the glass.
Then after a Purnell steal, fill-in starter Venessanah Itugbu swished a 10-foot baseline jumper, before Rudd scored on the next two possessions for a 48-32 lead with 6:03 left.
“Rudd is the toughest player we have down in the paint and she did a great job in that fourth quarter,” Beatty said.
Next up for the No. 2 seed is a date with top-seeded Pueblo South on Saturday at the Denver Coliseum.
Mesa Ridge will have to plan for life without Shook.
On Saturday, its answer was Rudd.