Scrappy Glenwood boys handle Green Mountain, 59-45, to advance to Sweet 16 of 5A tournament |

Scrappy Glenwood boys handle Green Mountain, 59-45, to advance to Sweet 16 of 5A tournament

Mike Vidakovich
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs junior Sim Wenger tips it off against Green Mountain junior Blake Weslin to start the 5A playoffs in Glenwood High's Chavez-Spencer Gym Wednesday night.
John Stroud/Post Independent

In his postgame comments to KMTS radio’s Ron Milhorn, Glenwood basketball coach Fred Heisel stated that the team his Demons were up against on Wednesday night in the first round of the state 5A playoffs was much bigger and thicker than his crew.

The physical size advantage that the Green Mountain Rams had in the contest was obvious even during warmups, but it was Heisel’s skinny boys who proved to be a bit scrappier and much better at the game of basketball, ousting the Rams with an impressive 59-45 victory at the Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium.

The skinny Glenwood boys can also jump pretty well and run with the best of them and, oh yes, can they shoot that basketball.

“It was a big team win for us tonight,” said Glenwood junior guard Sim Wenger. “Everyone stepped up and came ready to play. It’s just what we needed.”

The start to the game was not a promising one for the Demons. Green Mountain jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead before Glenwood junior Argeny Renteria slipped down the lane for a score to get the Demons on the board. From there, the tide of momentum slowly began to build for Glenwood.

Junior Alec Claassen scored on a nice pass from senior point guard Erick Cordero to knot the game at 6-6. Wenger and senior Edwin Olave dropped in a pair of 3-pointers to put Glenwood up 12-8 in a first quarter that saw both teams prefer a deliberate offensive pace.

Senior Gus Heisel decided to take center stage at the start of the second period by draining a 3-pointer and then taking a feed from Renteria to score on a driving layup. The Demons and the Rams then traded baskets for a good portion of the second period before Heisel stepped beyond the 3-point arc again and swished the net, giving Glenwood a 28-21 lead at the half.

Glenwood Springs senior Edwin Olave attempts to block the shot of Green Mountain’s Kasen McNeilly during the Demons opening-round 5A playoff win over the Rams Wednesday night at Chavez-Spencer Gym.
John Stroud/Post Independent

Green Mountain, the second place team from Denver’s Jeffco League, made a brief run that got Glenwood’s attention in the third period. Crafty senior guard Jon Lord hit a trey and junior Austin Beeson swiped a Demon pass and scored on a breakaway layup to cut the Glenwood lead to 33-28.

But Glenwood was more than up to the task of answering the Ram’s run. Olave scored an old-fashioned three-point play, followed by Cordero dropping in a 3-pointer. The raucous Glenwood student section was making some noise and shaking the gym when Renteria scored on another drive to the basket, giving the Demons a 43-32 lead with eight minutes to play.

Claassen scored on a floater down the lane to open the final period, putting Glenwood up 45-32. The Demons had now shifted into the mode of working the clock as well as trying to keep any Green Mountain comeback attempts at bay.

Lord scored on a midrange jumper with 5:04 to play, bringing the Rams within 47-38, but Glenwood was able to maintain their comfortable edge for the remainder of the night.

A balanced scoring ledger for the Demons saw Renteria, Wenger and Claassen each contribute 12 points. Cordero scored nine points, with Heisel and Olave each chipping in with eight points. Renteria had nine rebounds and Wenger grabbed seven.

The Demons (17-7), winners of their last 11 games in a row, will travel to Colorado Springs on Saturday to take on the state’s top-ranked 5A team. The Air Academy Kadets (22-2) will await Glenwood in the round of 16.

“I’m proud of the boys, as always,” Demon coach Heisel said. “They kept working through adversity early in the season and we’re now at the point where we are playing our best basketball. A lot of people contributed to this win tonight and that’s the way good teams do things.”

4A tournament

In the only other Wednesday game involving an area team, playing in the 4A tournament, No. 30 Basalt lost on the road at No. 3 Alamosa, 56-37.

In Thursday’s first-round 4A tournament action, No. 24 Coal Ridge put a first-quarter scare into No. 9 Severance, jumping out to a 16-11 lead through the first 8 minutes of play. The Silver Knights roared back to take a 34-33 lead at the half, though, and controlled the pace from there for the 61-50 win. The Titans conclude the season at 15-9. It was the final game in the blue and silver for seniors Andres Mendoza, Ryder Powell, Tony Lagunas, James Webber and Chase Webber.

Also Thursday, No. 26 Aspen lost 64-54 at No. 7 Eaton.

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