Coal Ridge boys win Demon Invite in double OT thriller
The Glenwood Springs and Coal Ridge girls squared off on Saturday morning in the third-place game of the annual Demon Invitational Basketball Tournament at Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium.
With local bragging rights at stake, Glenwood senior guard Emily Worline took control on the offensive end for her team in the first half, and junior post Qwynn Massie did likewise with her scoring and rebounding in the second half of play as the Demons came away with a decisive 45-26 win.
“Not a lot of people were scoring for us, so I made sure I had a good shot selection to try and match the points they (Coal Ridge) were scoring,” said Worline.
Worline tossed in three 3-pointers from various spots in the first half. Combine that with the Demon defensive pressure put on out at the perimeter from seniors Ximena Gutierrez and Logan Nieslanik, and Glenwood held a narrow 22-20 edge at intermission.
The Titans of Coal Ridge, playing without 6’1” sophomore post Taylor Wiescamp, stayed right with the Demons in the first 16 minutes, as guards Kashley Morgan, Alyssa Wenzel, and Lyanna Nevarez all scored to keep things tight at 10-8 in favor of Glenwood.
Wenzel hit a 3-pointer from the top of the circle to tie the game at 11-all early in the second period, but Worline immediately countered that with her own long toss into the netting to put the Demons back on top at 14-11. Titan sophomore Rae Nelson then scored two baskets before Glenwood’s Ashley Barragan notched a 3-ball to tie the back-and-forth game at 18.
It was then Worline to the Demon rescue again with another 3-pointer to give Glenwood its razor-thin halftime lead.
Undoubtedly, coming out of the locker room, the Titans had no idea that they would score just 6 more points the entire game. It was a lengthy dry spell that would leave Coal Ridge Head Coach Clyde Morgan shaking his head following the game.
“You just can’t score that low of a total against a good team like Glenwood who really pressures the ball,” said Morgan. “We only played one half of basketball today.”
Gutierrez lengthened Glenwood’s lead quickly in the third quarter with a short jumper, as everyone in the gym braced for a competitive second half. But it was time for Massie to take center stage as she scored on several shots near the basket, and limited the Titans offensive attempts with her timely rebounding.
“Our two schools are neighbors, so we were both hungry to try and win this game,” said Massie, who finished the morning contest with 16 points and 11 rebounds. “I just tried to focus on my rebounding to keep the team energized.”
Early in the fourth quarter, Glenwood’s lead rose to 41-24 as Coach Rhonda Moser then began to substitute liberally.
“We are still searching for consistent scoring from everyone,” said Moser, who will lead the Demons into the Longmont Tournament next Thursday. “We just need to be a little more patient on the offensive end. I feel on any given night we have several players who can step up and score for us. The kids did a good job of being composed in that second half.”
The Demon scoring book had Massie with 16 points, followed closely by Worline with 15. Gutierrez and Barragan each contributed 5 points. The Titans were topped by Nevarez with 7 points and Wenzel with 6.
Coal Ridge 89, Faith Christian 84
An epic battle.
The Saturday afternoon championship game of the Demon Invitational Tournament was a back and forth, topsy-turvy contest between two of the state’s best 3A teams. When all the dust had settled after two overtime periods, the Coal Ridge Titans managed to hang on to a heart-stopping 89-84 win over the Faith Christian Eagles.
Near the end of regulation, the thought of needing extra time to decide things was not in the back of anyone’s mind in the Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium. Coal Ridge senior center Kevin DiMarco hit a couple of free throws to put the Titans up 70-65 with just 15 seconds showing on the clock as things looked safe and secure for the team in blue.
But following a drive to the basket and score by Faith’s Isaiah Kroll, Coal Ridge guards were pressured into a turnover with 2.5 ticks left in the game.
Faith Christian junior guard Josh Long calmly took the inbound pass on the right side of the court and lofted a 3-pointer that dropped through the net as time expired to extend the exciting contest to an extra session.
At the game’s beginning, the Titans bolted out to a 14-6 lead on three baskets by scrappy point guard Jan Hernandez, and a hanging layup by senior Payton White. Faith’s Caleb Ruter, who finished the game with 25 points, heated up inside and outside, and the Eagles posted a 17-16 lead after one period. A near-half-court 3-pointer by Faith’s Micah Moldenhauer at the buzzer aided in the slim early lead.
Senior Aaron Arreola scored for the Titans early in the second period, but it was primarily the outside shooting of junior Austin Gerber, who hit consecutive 3-pointers upon his entrance into the game, that kept Coal Ridge close, trailing 36-31 at halftime.
The third quarter was big for the Titans, who came out firing on all cylinders as they outscored the Eagles 19-7 in the frame to take a 50-43 lead into the final quarter. The awakening of DiMarco, who decided to match the physical play of his counterparts in the third period, helped propel the Titans along as they took a stranglehold on the game’s elusive momentum. DiMarco hit from the outside on couple of shots, then made a nice hesitation move along the baseline for a hard-driving layup to put Faith Christian on their heels.
“We started to feature Kevin (DiMarco) on offense in that third quarter,” said Paul Harvey, Coal Ridge’s veteran head coach. “It opened up some jumpers and drives to the basket for him.”
With just 2:53 to play in the game, another Gerber 3-pointer put Coal Ridge up 63-55. Gerber’s shot was a follow-up on previous scores by White with a free throw and 3-pointers by senior Kevyn Flores and senior Jesus Camunez.
But once again, when it looked liked the Titans could safely get out of town with the victory, Faith came roaring back. A basket by Ruter and a 3-pointer by Kroll kept the Eagles within reach as time wound down to the end of regulation tying shot by Long.
All appeared lost for the Titans at the beginning of the first overtime as Faith jumped out to a quick 75-70 lead. DiMarco answered with a big 3-pointer, and Arreola matched that with his own 3-pointer, and Coal Ridge was suddenly up 76-75. White and Gerber each hit a couple of charity tosses for the Titans, but when DiMarco was called for an offensive foul, Kroll scored moments later to knot the game at 80 and send the game into a second overtime.
“These kids love to play basketball. I told them in the timeout that these moments are why you play,” said Harvey. “This is why we work so hard in the offseason, to be in these situations.”
Play hard the Titans did, as they outscored Faith 9-4 in the extra session to take home the Demon Invite trophy. With ice water in his veins, Gerber notched his fifth 3-pointer of the night to start the final overtime and Camunez got a couple of scores as the Titans celebrated at the final horn.
The scoring for the undefeated (6-0) Titans shook out with DiMarco leading the way with 22 points. Gerber scored19, while White (17), Hernandez (11) and Camunez (11) were in double figures as well.
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