Demon boys get 7th seed, 1st round bye in 4A playoffs
Following a terrific regular season that saw them shake off a slow start and rip off 16 wins in its final 17 games, the Glenwood Springs Demons boys basketball team earned the No. 7 seed and a first-round bye in the 4A state playoffs.
The Colorado High School Activities Association’s state playoff brackets for 4A and 5A were officially released on Sunday.
The Demons clinched a third straight 4A Western Slope League championship Friday night with a thrilling overtime win over Palisade on the road, capping off a regular season that saw the Demons start out 3-4. Glenwood rebounded big time, finishing with a mark of 18-5 (11-1 4A WSL), clinching a first-round bye and a home playoff game.
“That’s the first step [the bye] in getting deeper into the playoffs,” said Fred Heisel, Glenwood’s boys head coach. “It’s a little more favorable. I’m very pleased, with the start we had in the season, to the way we’ve come back. Our playoff spot was hard-earned.”
Sitting at No. 7 with the bye, the Demons await the winner of No. 26 Golden (12-11), and No. 39 Pueblo Centennial (9-14) on Wednesday night.
Glenwood isn’t focused on that matchup as much as they’re more worried about themselves and what they can control on their end. The Demons had a home playoff game last year and lost to a tough Mesa Ridge team. Now, the Demons are looking to make a deep run into the state playoffs.
“You go into it and prepare the best that you can for the opponent, and prepare the best you can for what you can do,” said Heisel. “We have to play the game we’ve played all year long and try to outwork the other team and try to play smart.”
Along with the Demon boys, the Glenwood girls earned a spot in the 4A state playoffs, grabbing the No. 34 seed after finishing the season with a 13-10 (9-3 4A WSL) record. The Demons had a tough final week of the season, dropping two straight games to Battle Mountain and Palisade, and seeing a chance at a league championship slip away.
“Last week was kind of a frustrating week for us, but if we can get a first round win that will be history,” said Rhonda Moser, Glenwood’s head coach. “We’re disappointed in the performance last week. We had a chance to seal up league title and a first-round home game and didn’t get it done. We have to focus on our defensive end of the game and try to create some opportunities for us. Offensively, we can’t be so rushed. We have to be more disciplined offensively.”
The Lady Demons will take on the No. 31 Littleton Lions (9-14) Tuesday night on the road at 6 p.m. Moser said the two teams will match up well in terms of height and play style, as the Lions play inside-out.
Taking to the road for the first game of the playoffs can be a challenge, but it’s one Moser is encouraging the Demons to accept and embrace.
“It’s fun to be the underdog and go on the road into someone’s house and try to win, especially in the playoffs,” said Moser. “All that matters right now is if you can win ballgames. We have to commit to being disciplined on Tuesday.”
Meanwhile, the Rifle High School boys basketball team (14-9, 5-7 4A WSL) saw its season start out fast before fading late. But the Bears worked their way into a 4A state playoff spot, grabbing the No. 21 seed. Rifle will host the No. 44 Coronado Cougars (7-16) inside Jack Smith Gymnasium on Wednesday for the first playoff appearance in head coach Kyle Daniell’s tenure as Rifle’s head coach.
“We’re very pleased; we didn’t care how it turned out, we just wanted a game,” said Daniell. “To host a round-one game solidifies all the boys’ hard work and the commitment to what we’re doing at Rifle with the basketball program.