Glenwood Springs splits with Grand Junction in return from holiday break
Coming out of the holiday break with a home game against the Grand Junction Tigers Saturday inside Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium, the Glenwood Springs Demons boys basketball team started fast, racing out to a 14-2 lead on its way to a 69-54 win over the visiting Tigers, in what was a chippy game that featured an ejection and a number of fouls and trash talk.
The Demons burst onto the scene Saturday afternoon, flying out to the 12-point lead just over two minutes into the first quarter as senior guard Angel Garcia hit a corner 3-pointer to start the scoring, before senior guard Chano Gonzalez converted a 3-point play moments later after a Grand Junction turnover.
A layup, free throw, and a 3-pointer by Garcia, and a putback by senior guard Kevin Ayon staked the Demons to the 14-2 lead, forcing a quick Grand Junction timeout.
“Yeah, I was really pleased with how we came out of the break,” said Fred Heisel, Glenwood Springs’s head coach. “The last couple of days of practice this week, the boys were ready to go, so I knew we were going to come out fast. They kids came back ready, hungry, and excited to get back to playing together.”
Glenwood eventually pushed its lead to 18-3 thanks to a putback in transition by Gonzalez, before senior guard Wyatt Ewere hit a layup and a jumper, making it a 22-4 game before Grand Junction’s Blaine Butler hit a jumper right before the first quarter buzzer as the Demons held a 22-6 lead.
Following the fast-paced first quarter of action, the Demons kept it up in the second quarter as Garcia hit a jumper and senior forward Luke Gair converted a layup off of a steal, pusihing Glenwood’s lead to 26-8.
Gair then followed up with a floater to make it 28-8 before getting tangled up with Grand Junction’s Andy Smith in a battle for a loose ball. Smith threw an elbow, but it was Gair that was assessed a double technical foul and an ejection for pushing Smith off of him and then arguing the first technical foul.
Grand Junction freshman guard Ky Oday converted all four technical foul free throws for the Tigers, making it a 26-14 game, but the Demons buckled down again and closed out the first half strong with a 3-pointer from Ewer late in the quarter, sending the two teams into the half with the Demons holding a 20-point lead at 39-19.
With the game seemingly in hand at the half, the Demons started to tinker with lineups in the third quarter, which allowed the Tigers back into the game as Grand Junction outscored Glenwood 21-13 in the third quarter to pull to with 13 points.
In the third quarter, Butler hit two 3-pointers and a layup in transition for the Tigers, while Beau Thornton and Max DeGeorge hit one 3-pointer each for th Tigers, giving Grand Junction some life.
“We had some players in there in the third quarter that typically don’t play together,” said Heisel. “We were trying to work on some things and we had a few mistakes. Grand Junction got hot too; it wasn’t just us. They hit some threes there and got a couple of baskets on fast breaks. A few turnovers like that and the lead can disappear.”
The Tigers then pulled to within 10 points early in the fourth quarter before Glenwood found its stride again, running away late thanks to 11 fourth-quarter points from Gonzalez, leading to the 15-point win.
In the win, Gonzalez led the Demons with 22 points, while Garcia added 19 points. Junior Mitchell Burt and Ewer added 9 points each for the Demons off the bench.
For Grand Junction, Butler led the Tigers with 11 points, while Thornton and Oday added 10 and 9 points, respectively.
Grand Junction 39, Glenwood Springs 31
At one point, it looked like the Glenwood Springs Demons girls basketball team was going to run away from the visiting Grand Junction Tigers Saturday afternoon inside Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium. At that point midway through the second quarter the Demons extended their lead to game-high 8 points at 23-15 off of a putback by junior Qwynn Massie, but that would be the real high-point of the game for the Demons as Grand Junction turned it one late in the first half and held off a furious fourth-quarter rally for a 39-31 win over the Demons.
Coming off of an extended holdiay break, the two teams came out fast, trading buckets early as the lead changed two times in the first quarter and was tied twice. But near the end of the first quarter the Demons pulled away for a 5-point lead at 15-10 as Massie hit a layup. But Grand Junction closed the quarter with a layup by Taylor Paumen made it a 15-12 game after one quarter of play.
Opening up the second half, Glenwood pushed out to a 23-15 lead thanks to a 3-pointer by senior Emily Worline, a jumper from Worline, and a putback from Massie. Grand Junction didn’t wilt though under the pressure from Glenwood on the road.
The Tigers switched things up offensively, forcing defensive switches by Glenwood on Mackenzie Younker, opening up scoring opportunities that led to the comeback.
“She [Younker] was coming out on the outside and setting a pick, forcing us to switch a guard onto her,” said Rhonda Moser, Glenwood’s head coach. “We had a mismatch then, and they were able to take advantage to get back into the game.”
Trailing 23-15, the Tigers went on a 7-0 run to close the half as Paumen hit a layup to start the comeback, before Angela Paradiso hit a layup and a 3-pointer, and Dolcie Hanlon hit a layup, sending the two teams into the half seperated by just a point.
Coming out of the break, the Tigers stayed on a roll as Gabby Deters hit a layup to open the half before Paradiso hit a 3-pointer through contact, making it a 27-23 game.
Glenwood’s Ashley Barragnan scored the lone points of the third quarter for the Demons with a stepback jumper from the right elbow to make it a 27-25 game, but the Tigers closed the quarter on a quick 6-0 spurt, taking a 33-25 lead into the final quarter of play.
“Scoring just two points in that quarter really hurt us,” said Moser. “Against a team like that, when you’re trading bucket for bucket, you can’t go cold like that.”
With the game coming down to the wire, the Demons rallied furiously, pulling to within two points at 33-31 thanks to two layups from Massie and a layup from Gutierrez, but that would be it for the Demons as Gutierrez got into foul trouble, taking Glenwood’s best player off the floor late, leading to a 6-0 run to close the game for the Tigers.
In the loss, Gutierrez led the Demons with 12 points, while Worline chipped in with 8 points.
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