GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - A little experience can go a long way in basketball.
Led by the play of senior Kenzie Nelson-Buehler and junior Delaney Gaddis, the only two returning varsity starters, the Glenwood Springs girls downed Summit 46-28 at home to improve to 4-3 in league play and 8-3 overall.
Nelson-Buehler led all scorers with 19 points, while Gaddis recorded 11 points and four steals. During a six-minute stretch in the second half, Nelson-Buehler tossed in 12 points and Gaddis grabbed three steals to push the score from 25-15 to a commanding 44-19 lead.
"I thought we played well on defense all night," said Demons head coach Jacky Gaddis. "Offensively, it wasn't like we didn't have our opportunities."
Glenwood made only six field goals in the first two quarters, but held the Lady Tigers to 3-of-17 shooting in the first half.
Summit held a 12-11 lead with 3:28 to play in the second quarter. That's when the Lady Demons dialed up the defense and used a 6-0 run to take a 17-12 lead at the end of the half.
"That was the turning point in the game, said Summit coach Dylan Hollingsworth. "We ran out of gas and they turned it up. In the second half they really controlled the offensive boards."
With Gaddis applying pressure near the top of the key, Summit had 15 first-half turnovers.
The Lady Demons also had problems moving the ball in the first half with 13 turnovers, but in the third quarter they settled into their quick passing offense and the shots began to drop. As Gaddis turned up her defensive energy, Nelson-Buehler seemed to feed off her play. The senior hit four of five shots early in the fourth quarter to put Glenwood ahead comfortably.
Coach Gaddis said her team has had problems all season finding their offensive consistency, but not from a lack of effort.
"Once our shots start to fall, we'll be a force offensively," she said.
For two quarters, the Glenwood boys played like the team head coach Cory Hitchcock wanted to see. Behind a pesky defense and clutch outside shooting, the Demons looked sharp and had the Tigers struggling offensively.
The second half was a much different story.
Summit used a 9-0 run to start the third quarter and cruised to a 66-51 road win at Glenwood.
The Demons rallied at the end of the third quarter behind the hot-handed shooting of senior Chris Thomas to keep the game close. A miserable Glenwood start to the fourth quarter, with six turnovers and four missed shots, put Summit ahead for good.
"I'm not sure they shut us down as much as we did ourselves in," Hitchcock said. "We came out in the second half with no energy. You just can't do that and expect to win."
The loss puts Glenwood at 2-5 in league play and 3-9 overall. Summit improved to 3-7 and 3-11 overall.
Thomas led the Demons with 17 points.