Demons hold off Titans in defensive battle |

Demons hold off Titans in defensive battle

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Jeff Caspersen Post IndependentGlenwood Springs sophomore Kenzie Nelson-Buehler, top, attempts to steal the ball away from Coal Ridge sophomore Cassie Blackard (23) during Friday's girls basketball game in Peach Valley. Nelson-Buehler and the Demons prevailed, 40-31.

PEACH VALLEY, Colorado – One spectator aptly dubbed it “The Santa Claus Effect.”

Perhaps looking ahead to the holiday break, Glenwood Springs and Coal Ridge looked sluggish in the early going of Friday’s girls basketball showdown in Peach Valley.

Shots weren’t falling for either team. It took a full five minutes until Glenwood’s Kenzie Nelson-Buehler put the first points on the board with a 3-pointer.

It was the type of game Coal Ridge needed to play to upset the high-scoring Demons, who entered the night averaging 59.6 points a game.

After fighting to a 22-all tie through three quarters, Glenwood came alive in the final frame. Shifting their focus from the impending holiday break to the present, the Demons outscored the Titans by an 18-9 count to secure a 40-31 victory.

“From the very beginning, the energy was not where it should have been,” Glenwood junior Lexie Warkentin relayed.

Demons coach Bryan Derby agreed.

“I think they were thinking it was Christmas break,” he said. “We just didn’t come out mentally ready, you know. That happens. You’ve got to give this team credit, though. They fought through all the adversity and came out with the win.”

And Derby’s Demons (8-0) earned the win at the foul line, hitting 10 of 13 at the stripe in the fourth quarter, after shooting free throws at an 0-for-9 clip in the first half.

Kenzie Kuhn, who finished with a Glenwood-high 11 points, hit 6 of 6 from the line in the final quarter.

Coal Ridge kept it close with defense, playing a physical brand of ball that served it well.

“We played hard defense,” Titans coach Rick Schmitz said. “We battled them on the boards. I love those kinds of games, those grind-it-out games. Glenwood’s a good team. They’re very well coached. They made plays there in the fourth quarter.”

With point guard Paige Ryan regularly feeding her entry passes, post Ciara Chacon led Coal Ridge (3-2) with 12 points. Chasity Gonzales finished with 10 points, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers in the process. Her second triple sparked an 8-0 run to close out the third quarter.

Cassidy Gaddis scored eight points and Warkentin and Delaney Gaddis had seven points apiece for the Demons. Warkentin, battling an elbow injury, kept her team alive with her hustle and work on the boards.

“If it wasn’t for that kid tonight being the workhorse she is,” Derby said. “I don’t know how many rebounds she had, but she was all over.”

Derby and the Demons will put their unblemished record on the line against visiting Aspen at 2:30 p.m. today. Coal Ridge is off until a Jan. 7 trip to Aspen.

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