Onyenwere leads Grandview back to 5A girls basketball's final four

Grandview Rampart girls basketball

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DENVER -- Michaela Onyenwere appeared to be just about everywhere Thursday evening -- at least that is how it must have seemed to Rampart.

The Grandview freshman was a force to be reckoned with in the Great 8 round of the Class 5A state girls basketball playoffs, notching a double-double in the first half alone. Her efforts proved to be contagious as the Wolves’ dominance on the glass keyed a 50-34 victory over the Rams at the Denver Coliseum.

Grandview (24-2) advanced to the state semifinals for the second year in a row and will face Fossil Ridge (25-1) on March 13 at the CU Events Center in Boulder.

“It feels amazing because I feel like we still have unfinished business at Boulder,” Wolves senior Katie Cunningham said of a three-point loss to eventual state champion Regis Jesuit last year. “I feel like now we get a second chance to go back and show everyone what we can do.”

Onyenwere paced Grandview with 19 points and 13 rebounds, six of which came on the offensive end. She had 13 points and 10 boards at halftime but battled foul trouble in the second half.

“She’s awesome,” Cunningham said. “She gives us an extra spark when she keeps scoring. It just gives us so much energy.”

Cunningham added 13 points and seven rebounds and Natalie Halbleib chipped in with 12 points and nine rebounds. Grandview outrebounded Rampart 39-24 and had an 18-2 advantage in second-chance points.

Those extra opportunities made the difference and prevented Rampart from getting back into the game.

“We were really emphasizing to our girls to get offensive rebounds and to try and attack,” Wolves coach Josh Ulitzky said. “We feel like the special teams that we’ve seen in the tournament in the past, they’ve been able to attack the offensive glass.”

Rampart (20-6) received 12 points each from Cassidy Budge and Nicea Eliely. The Rams will graduate just three seniors.