GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - Senior night proved to be great motivation for the Glenwood Springs girls basketball team in a 57-32 win over Palisade at home Tuesday night.
That, and the fact that the Lady Demons really needed another 4A Western Slope League win heading into a key match-up to close out the regular season at Rifle Friday, with seedings for the district tournament next week on the line.
"Knowing that we had to win this one was huge," Glenwood coach Jacky Gaddis said. "They beat us down in Palisade last time, so this was a good win for us."
Glenwood (12-5 overall, 8-4 league) overcame some first-quarter jitters before finally taking charge and opening a 28-16 lead at halftime.
The Demons built on the lead in the second half, and held as much as a 28-point advantage late in the game en route to the win.
"It feels really good to get this win, especially after they beat us the first time," Demons senior Ally Tapp said of a 43-39 loss at Palisade on Jan. 18.
"I think we had it in our minds as seniors, and for all of us as a team, that we needed this one for the district tournament," said Tapp, one of two seniors on the Lady Demons basketball team who were honored Tuesday.
The other senior, Kenzie Nelson-Buehler, was the leading scorer on the night for Glenwood with 13 points, including two 3-pointers.
Sophomore Jordan DeCrow finished with 12 points for the Demons, while Maddie Spence, also a sophomore, had 11.
"Everybody got to play tonight, which is nice to be able to do at home for the last game," Gaddis said.
Palisade was paced by junior Cruz Maestes, who had 13 points.
The Demon boys only made 25 percent of their shots on the night and threw the ball away 33 times, digging an early hole against the visiting Palisade Bulldogs before falling 55-31.
"We missed a lot of easy baskets," Demons coach Cory Hitchcock said. "Bottom line is, when you can't take care of the basketball, and you give a team that many chances to score, it's hard to compete."
The Demons (5-13, 4-9) were down 19-3 after the first 8 minutes of play, but managed to outscore the Bulldogs 14-7 in the second quarter to claw their way back into the game.
After an offensive rebound and put-back by senior Logan Holmberg pulled the Demons within seven points, 27-19, at the start of the third quarter, things quickly unraveled for Glenwood. Palisade opened a 43-25 lead going into the fourth and never looked back.
Senior Grant Fegan led the Demons in scoring with seven points, while junior Levi Hoaglund paced the Bulldogs with 20.
"Our kids came out with a lot of energy in the first quarter, and that set the course for the game," Palisade coach Brian Tafel said. "It's always tough to win on the road, and we were happy to sneak out of here with a win."
Palisade improved to 12-5 overall and 10-2 in the 4A WSL standings with the win.
Five of the six Glenwood Springs seniors earned the start in honor of senior night, including Fegan, Holmberg, Pete Ray, Gabe Yen and Chris Thomas.
Senior Collin Porterfield, who has been sidelined with an injury all season, suited up for the game. Porterfield gave coach Hitchcock a long embrace at courtside as he was announced along with his fellow senior teammates.
"You definitely miss a kid like Collin who can have a huge impact on a game," Hitchcock said. "This whole senior class is amazing, and they're just a good group of kids."
Both Glenwood Springs basketball teams close out the regular season on the road at Rifle on Friday.