Given the opportunity, Mesa Ridge girls’ basketball coach Jeff Beatty would love to clone his star guard, Chloe Welch, and play the senior with four of her duplicates.
That’s because Welch does just about everything for the 8-2 Grizzlies.
“She’s a great shooter, great ball handler, and she’s our best defender” Beatty said. “So she’s pretty much the whole package.”
Listed at 5-foot-9, the senior does her fair share on the inside too, grabbing 9.7 rebounds and blocking 1.2 shots per game.
“She’s the best rebounding guard we’ve ever had,” the Mesa Ridge coach said. “Most nights, she’s right around that triple-double line.”
In three double-digit wins last week, Welch averaged 14.7 points, nine rebounds, 7.3 assists, four steals and one block per game to earn Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week.
Personal accolades don’t seem to mean much to the Davidson signee, however. When asked what her individual goals for the season were, nothing came immediately to mind.
“Individual goals… umm…. I don’t know, just to win, really,” Welch said.
There’s been a good deal of winning in Welch’s first three years as a Grizzly. After a first-round exit at the Class 4A state tournament in her freshman season, Welch helped Mesa Ridge to consecutive quarterfinal appearances as a sophomore and junior.
All that’s left is another deep run in her final season. To this point, the Grizzlies’ only losses came against 5A opponents in early December.
“I’m just hoping for a successful season and to reach our potential as a team and go as far in the playoffs as we possibly can,” she said.
The Grizzlies appear to have the potential to make a run, as Welch is far from the only scoring option. Juniors Angelina Jackson and Ashley Bowen average 11.4 points per game, while two others add at least five points per game.
As Saturday’s blowout of Elizabeth showed, Welch isn’t afraid to get others involved. Five of her teammates reached double figures, but she didn’t, registering eight points with as many rebounds and assists to go with five steals.
“Five others scored double digits in that game because she got them the ball,” Beatty said.
“She’s really unselfish, and that’s really nice to have as a coach.”
If needed, or even if she wanted, the Grizzlies’ coach said Welch could average more than her team-leading 18.2 points per game.
“Obviously other girls on the team can score, because they’ve proved it throughout the season,” Welch said. “Even if they put all the pressure on me, then I don’t have to worry about anything because I know that most other girls on the floor can score, just as I can.”
Beatty, who’s coached his fair share of Division I products, says the only thing missing from Welch’s game as she prepares for the next level is a little bit of muscle. That’s not lost on the Mesa Ridge guard.
“After this season, I can just work on getting better for college,” Welch said.
“I’m going to get a long stronger and a lot better so I can be prepared.”
Until that point, Welch seems intent on leading the Grizzlies as far as they can go without the help of genetic duplication.
“You just can’t ask for more from her than what we’re getting,” Beatty said.
Other Peak Performers
Ashton Rogers, Coronado
Rogers opened a four-game week with 18 points, with four 3-pointers and 15 rebounds against Pomona. He closed the week with 15 points and 11 rebounds against Mullen. He finished the week averaging 17.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and hit 16 of 18 free throws.
Lou Levy, Woodland Park
Levy was instrumental in the Panthers’ first win in program history, a 5-2 win over Palmer on Saturday. Levy scored three times and assisted on his team’s two other goals.
Charisse Fairley, Widefield
Fairley posted 21 points, eight rebounds and three steals in a lopsided win over Woodland Park on Saturday when she hit 8 of 16 shots from the field, including 3 of 6 from deep. Earlier in the week, she had 12 points, five rebounds and a steal in a loss to Mesa Ridge.
Girls’ Swimming and diving
Cat Wright, Cheyenne Mountain
The senior led the Indians to a decisive win at the Pueblo County Hornet Invite this weekend. Wright won the 100 butterfly (56.21) and the 100 backstroke (57.74) individually and helped Cheyenne Mountain win the 200-medley and the 400-freestyle relays.