Glenwood Springs High School's girls basketball team had plenty of jitters this past weekend. Coach Jacky Gaddis hopes those will be out of the Demons' system by Tuesday.
Glenwood (13-8 overall) dropped its last two games in the Class 4A Western Slope District Tournament at Brownson Arena in Grand Junction this past weekend, scoring just 25 points in each of its games against Montrose (on Friday) and Rifle (on Saturday). That said, Gaddis figured the eighth-seeded Demons' offensive production should be much better when they host No. 9 Harrison of Colorado Springs (13-10) in the first round of the Class 4A Regional Tournament.
"These last two games, we were a little off," Gaddis said. "The spotlight was on, and we were playing at Mesa State in a big ol' college gym, so I think it was all a little overwhelming for them.
"The problem for us was that it was mostly mental," the coach continued. "It'll be nice to get back in our own gym."
The Glenwood girls are one of three Garfield County hoops squads who will host first-round regional games. The Rifle girls (15-7) will host Thomas Jefferson (10-11) in a first-round matchup on Tuesday, while the Rifle boys (13-9) will host Montrose (10-13) on Wednesday. Game times for both the Rifle boys and girls games are tentatively scheduled for 7 p.m.
The Glenwood boys (7-16), who earned the district tournament's seventh and final berth in the boys regional with their 62-44 win over Battle Mountain on Saturday, will hit the road to play Greeley Central (14-9) on Wednesday. Game times for the Glenwood girls' game against Harrison and the Glenwood boys' game at Greeley Central have not been determined.
Gaddis was worried that the Demons' losses would drop her team to a lower seed, forcing Glenwood to make the long road trip to Colorado Springs. It didn't turn out that way, and not having to take that long bus ride to the Front Range is something the coach considers a blessing.
"That was a very pleasant surprise," the coach said.
The Demons hold a statistical advantage on paper, as their season averages in points scored (50.5 points per game), rebounding (31.4) and blocked shots (4.6) all top Harrison. Gaddis feels plenty of reason to be worried, though, considering the Panthers average 14.3 steals per game.
"I know that Glenwood has played them in the past, and [Harrison] has always been real scrappy," Gaddis said. "I wouldn't be surprised to see something similar when we play them."
Tuesday's winner will play at No. 1-seeded D'Evelyn (22-1) on Friday.
Glenwood's boys went 2-2 in the district tournament after posting five victories during the regular season, leaving coach Cory Hitchcock with plenty of optimism going into Wednesday's game against the Wildcats. Another reason for optimism is senior post player Colin Porterfield, whose return from a hand injury which sidelined him for the entire regular season has helped prolong the Demons' season.
"I think the guys are really starting to hit their stride and are really starting to believe in themselves," Hitchcock said. "If it wasn't for a turnover here or a missed shot there, we might have been playing for the district championship or, at least, in the third-place game.
"The boys don't want this season to end yet."
Rifle's boys have won 10 of their past 11 games headed into Wednesday's first-round game against Montrose. The last time the Bears faced the Indians, however, resulted in a 49-44 loss in their season opener on Dec. 6.
The Rifle girls aren't quite on the tear that the boys are, but they have won eight of their past 10 games. Chante Church is averaging 17.2 point per game through this past weekend, but the Bears will face a Spartans team which averages 6.5 blocked shots per contest.