Van Gytenbeek shines as No. 10 Cherry Creek girls hoops tops Arapahoe

Cherry Creek Arapahoe girls basketball

(Max Potter/

GREENWOOD VILLAGE — Behind Jana Van Gytenbeek, Cherry Creek girls basketball took down Centennial League rival Arapahoe 54-38 in Friday night action. 

To cap off a banner week, Van Gytenbeek paced the Class 5A No. 10 Bruins with 19 points.

“My teammates just got me open, and I scored,” she said.

At this point of the season, every win in the Centennial will prove to be a vital one. The Bruins were able to take care of business at home, something that will always prove vital in a hunt for a league title.

“It means a lot, this win puts us into second place by ourselves in the league,” Cherry Creek coach Chris Curneen said. “Now we just have to keep fighting.”

Van Gytenbeek has also taken the reigns as the leader for the Bruins, in only her sophomore season.

“It is easy to lead a good team, with a good coach,” Van Gytenbeek said. “We always have good practices, it’s not hard to lead this team.”

And a self leading team the Bruins are with three athletes committed to play at the next level, and more to come with four mature underclassmen all playing an impact role in a balanced Cherry Creek team.

“We have the potential to go just as far (as we did last year),” forward Carly Thompson said. “I think we work together as a team and can do it again.”

At first glance the low ages of Bruin players may raise some concern but the Bruins are proving that age is just a number.

“We work really well together, on the court we have really good communication,” Thompson continued. “We also execute our plays really well and play solid defense which gets the rest of the game going. Defense wins championships.”

Senior transfer Emma Wrede has stepped into the Cherry Creek system without missing a beat.

“It isn’t much different, other than the styles of play, Jana is out of this world, it was hard transitioning at first with a new coach, new ways of play, but I like it and it is going really well.” Wrede said.

Wrede has emerged as one of the primary shooters for the Bruins.

“I just knock down shots when I’m open, which is all thanks to my teammates. I know what my role is and what I need to do every night.” Wrede said.

Wrede has postseason experience from last year at Regis Jesuit which will help bolster the Bruins when the playoffs begin.

“I’m hungry, we are hungry for more, once you get a taste of it you want more and this year, I know we have a good chance.” Wrede finished.

Cherry Creek improved to 8-3, while the Arapahoe Warriors dropped to 7-6.

Cherry Creek Arapahoe girls basketball

(Max Potter/