Glenwood Demons boys and girls take care of business at rival Rifle; Coal Ridge boys big winners over DSST: Byers

Mike Vidakovich
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs Demon Miah Suarez fights to get through the defending Rifle Bears during Friday night's rivalry game at Rifle High School.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Friday night’s rivalry basketball games at Rifle High School saw the Glenwood Springs Demons usher in a new year’s sweep of their neighbors from down the interstate.

The Lady Demons topped coach Eric Caro’s Bears by a convincing 58-27 count, and the Glenwood boys finished off the night with a 71-37 victory of their own.

With the pair of wins, both Glenwood teams move to 2-0 in the 4A Western Slope League. The Demon boys and girls both defeated Summit on the road Tuesday by scores of 51-24 and 67-49, respectively.

The Glenwood girls started off the Friday action by jumping out to a 32-19 advantage over the Bears at halftime. Senior guard Ella Johnson was the main catalyst in the quick Demon start, hitting for seven points in the opening quarter and 10 points by the game’s intermission. Sophomore guard Taia Nykerk also contributed five first-half points to help the Demon cause.

Junior guard Joslyn Spires, after spending most of the first half on the Glenwood bench with foul trouble, hit two free throws to close the third period as the Demons added to their already sizable lead by outscoring Rifle 15-4 in the period to take a 45-23 margin into the fourth quarter of play.

“We came out to start the game and got into a little foul trouble with our press,” Glenwood coach Rhonda Moser said. “We adjusted, and emphasized to the kids that they needed to just concentrate on playing great half-court defense, and that’s what they did. We’re still working on our offensive patience also in the half court sets, and we are making progress.”

“This is the best Glenwood team I have seen in my four years here,” Rifle’s coach Caro said. “I’m very proud of my kids, though. We kept playing hard despite the score, but Glenwood’s depth and athletic ability takes its toll.”

Spires and Johnson led Glenwood in scoring with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Junior Victoria Taylor and and freshman Ana Shea topped the rebounding ledger for the Demons, with Taylor pulling down seven boards and Shea grabbing six.

Jamie Caron was Rifle’s leading lady with 10 points.

The Glenwood girls played a nonleague game at home against Grand Junction Central on Saturday afternoon, losing 48-41 to drop to 7-7 overall. The Demons opened an 11-8 lead to start, but were outscored 16-8 and 13-8 in the second and fourth quarters, respectively, for the difference.

The Lady Bears fell to 5-4 overall and 0-2 in league play with the Glenwood loss followed by a 35-31 loss at Steamboat Springs on Saturday. The Bears managed to hold the Sailors to two and four points in the second and third quarters, respectively, but were outscored 14-8 and 15-7 in the first and fourth quarters en route to the four-point loss.

Rifle Bear Jamie Caron looks for an open teammate during Friday night's rivalry game against the Glenwood Springs Demons.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

In the boys’ game Friday, Glenwood senior guard Reid Swanson came out with a hot hand, hitting three consecutive three-pointers to stake Glenwood to an 11-2 lead. Glenwood continued its early onslaught with senior post Bryson McClain spinning in a twisting layup, followed by baskets from guards Reece McMillan and Jesus Martinez to put Glenwood in total control, leading 21-6 at the end of the first quarter of play.

With all gas and no brakes whatsoever, the visitors from Glenwood continued to run and score at will. Midway through the second period of play, the score stood at 42-13, and the Demons showed no signs of a letup.

Junior guard Erick Cordero had nine first-half points, and sophomore Argeny Renteria dropped in seven points to fuel the big Glenwood lead at the halfway point of the game.

After enduring a tough preseason schedule and an inconsistent start to the year, Glenwood coach Fred Heisel has reason for optimism with what he has seen from his team in their undefeated start to league play.

“I’m glad we are showing improvement, but there is still a lot to work on,” stated Heisel. “With all of our shooting drills we do in practice, I knew the makes would eventually translate to the games, and tonight it did. Really, though, I’m as encouraged by our defense as much as our offense.”

Swanson’s four three-pointers and 18 total points led Glenwood in scoring. Cordero and McClain added 12 and 10 points for the winning team. Junior post Gus Heisel had 7 rebounds to pace the Demons.

Glenwood Springs travels to play Eagle Valley on Tuesday, with the girls tipping off at 5:30 p.m. and the boys at 7.

The Bears boys fell to 3-5 overall and 0-2 in the league with a 64-37 loss at Steamboat Springs on Saturday. Rifle found itself down by 15 at halftime, and the host team never looked back.

Coal Ridge 84, DSST: Byers 36

The Coal Ridge boys jumped out to a 47-11 lead over the visiting DSST: Byers Falcons and maintained their dominance into second half to earn the nonleague win.

The leading scorer for the Titans was junior Andres Mendoza with 20, including three treys. Junior Chase Gerber contributed 17 and senior Eddie Salazar 14 to the win.

The Titans improved to 5-4 overall with the win ahead of a road trip to play Vail Mountain in another nonleague affair on Tuesday, followed by Moffat County on the road Thursday.

In Thursday action last week, the Grand Valley girls improved to 9-2 overall with a 62-46 nonleague win over Meeker. Grand Valley’s boys (5-5) fell to Meeker, 57-50.

Grand Valley games at Roaring Fork in Carbondale Saturday were postponed as are games versus Plateau Valley and Rifle on Monday and Tuesday.

Mike Vidakovich is a freelance writer, teacher and coach from Glenwood Springs. Post Independent reporter John Stroud ( contributed to this report.

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