Denman does it for Blackhawk in win over rival Central Valley
Halle Denman will remember the Blackhawk girls basketball team's second meeting with Central Valley much better than the first.
Denman missed the Cougars' 10-point loss early last month with an ankle injury, but this time she scored her 1,000th point and carried top-ranked Blackhawk to a 77-51 home victory that clinched at least a share of the Section 2-AAA title.
Denman was one of four Blackhawk players in double figures and finished 21 points. Perhaps more than that, though, she added seven assists, seven steals and three blocks, a testament to the amount of agony she caused the rival Warriors.
“That really fueled me when they beat us by 10,” Denham said. “I wanted to get them back so bad. I'm glad we did.”
Denham was helped by Courtney Vannoy's 17 points and 10 rebounds. Chassidy Omogrosso had 12 points and seven assists.
Bridgette Shaffer scored 10 points, including eight in 62 seconds when Blackhawk opened the third quarter on a 10-2 run to pull away for good.
“Once they made that run in the third quarter, it seemed like our kids got down on themselves,” Central Valley coach Kim Tirik said.
Blackhawk (17-2, 10-1) improved to 43-5 in section play since the start of the 2010-11 season.
Central Valley won the previous meeting 71-61 on Jan. 9, limiting Omogrosso to just 15 points and outrebounding the Cougars, 42-26.
Seairra Barrett and Kiana Law did it all for Central Valley and combined for 56 points.
Whereas Barrett and Law had their way in that one, Blackhawk limited Law to just nine points, one in the second half.
Barrett was outstanding, pouring in a game-high 30 points, but it wasn't nearly enough. Not with the way Denman was operating.
“When they see her step on the floor, it's immediate respect,” Blackhawk coach Steve Lodovico said. “Just the way that she plays. She's a great leader for us. It's going to be terrible when we lose her next year.”
Central Valley (13-6, 8-3) jumped out to an 11-6 lead after a pair of free throws from Barrett, but Blackhawk scored 13 of the final 17 points of the quarter and led 18-15 after one.
The Cougars used a 7-2 run early in the second quarter — which included Denman's 3-pointer from the corner to reach 1,000 — to build a 25-19 advantage following a pair of free throws from Vannoy.
Blackhawk led 33-25 at halftime.
Denman finished with 10 points in the first half to go along with four steals, two blocks and two rebounds. Those totals, of course, only grew in the second half.
“Halle's such a leader on the court,” Vannoy said. “She's never too selfish. It was a big, big thing for her to be back.”