Hey, in the heat of the moment, Avery VanSickle has been tempted to slug Gracie Weigand, too.
“Gracie can get in people’s ears,” VanSickle, the star point guard at Regis Jesuit, said of Weigand, her scrappy teammate. “Obviously, when it’s high-intensity, Gracie just — Gracie just gets on people’s nerves.”
Such as, say, last Dec. 12 at the Raiders’ home gym, when Weigand got punched by Grandview’s standout forward, Alisha Davis, at the end of a rivalry game in which tensions escalated quickly.
You want the back story at the girls state basketball tournament Final Four? We’ve got back story. You want stakes? We’ve got stakes. Grandview (22-4) meets Regis (23-3) in the first of two Class 5A state semis Thursday at the Denver Coliseum, a rematch of the 2018 championship tilt, and the first meeting between the two local powers since that aforementioned December brouhaha.
The Wolves are the two-time defending Class 5A champions; from 2008-18, Regis Jesuit played in the state title game six times, winning it all in 2013 and 2014. The Raiders are ranked the No. 2 in the state and Grandview is No. 3.
You want stars? Regis forward Francesca Belibi is the No. 2 prospect in the state for the class of 2019, according to ESPN’s HoopGurlz database; Grandview’s Davis is No. 6. Belibi is bound for Stanford; Davis, Northern Colorado.
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You want payback? We’ve got that, too. Grandview topped Regis, 67-61, in the 5A state title game a year ago. The Raiders turned around and bopped the Wolves, 79-52, back in December.
“I think the way it’s been ending the last couple years,” said Belibi, who threw down a one-handed dunk on the Wolves in that 27-point home win three months earlier, “it’s kind of definitely built up to a rivalry.”
If the last meeting was any indication, it’s built up to be a little bit more than that.