Class 4A state basketball: Familiar foe awaits Glenwood Springs girls
CLASS 4A STATE TOURNAMENT
Who: Glenwood Springs (16-5) at D’Evelyn (18-5).
Where: D’Evelyn High School, Denver
When: 7 p.m. today
Radio: KMTS, 99.1 and 99.5 FM.
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — There’s more than one thing that sticks out as an advantage for the Glenwood Springs High School girls basketball team headed into its matchup against the D’Evelyn Jaguars.
At least, that’s how the Demons feel.
“We’ve been there before, and we know exactly what they’re going to do,” said Glenwood coach Jacky Gaddis, whose eighth-seeded Demons (16-5) will play the top-seeded Jaguars (18-5) at 7 p.m. today to open the regional round of the Class 4A state tournament. “They’re just going to shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot and shoot.”
That’s the kind of philosophy that the Jaguars used when they earned a slim 47-44 victory against the Demons in the second round of the state tournament in 2013. That also turned out to be the Jaguars’ closest game until they played for the 4A state title, when they lost 66-42 to Pueblo South.
And despite some of the recent shortcomings for Glenwood — including a stunning 44-30 overtime loss against rival Rifle in the first round of last week’s district tournament, the Demons are still confident that they have the kind of roster capable of making a run similar to D’Evelyn’s two years ago.
“I think that with us going in as a lower seed, we don’t have a target on our back,” senior guard Jordan DeCrow said. “That opens the door for us to surprise some people and show everyone on that side of the hill what we’re capable of over here.”
Glenwood was definitely one of the state’s better teams last season, with the only losses of its 25-game campaign coming to eventual state champion Mesa Ridge in the regular season and Palmer Ridge in the postseason. And this year is no different — three of the Demons’ five losses have come to teams in Palisade and Pueblo West that are hosting regional tournaments this weekend.
It was the district-tournament loss against Rifle, however, that kept the Demons from earning one of the league’s four automatic berths in the tournament. The Colorado High School Activities Association, however, did give the Demons one of the five at-large tournament bids based on their season’s overall body of work.
The Demons realized that headed into Selection Sunday, too.
“I think that CHSAA took into account that everyone can have a bad game, and we definitely had a bad game,” senior guard Bella Diaz said. “I think that we were still pretty confident about it going into Sunday, though.”
The winner of today’s game will play either Silver Creek (17-6) or Mesa Ridge (16-7) on Saturday afternoon for a berth in the Great 8 round of the tournament, which will be held March 6 at the Denver Coliseum. In the meantime, the Demons feel confident going against a team that, in many ways, has a much similar playing style.
Senior post player Morgan Ducklow (16.7 points per game, 4.2 rebounds) is the Jaguars’ leading scorer, and junior guards Lexi Reed (12.5 points) and Aubrey Sotolongo (12.0 points) help the threesome combine to average 41.2 of D’Evelyn’s 55.6 points per game. The Jaguars, however, averaged that many points on their way to winning the Jeffco League, a league that has had a Final Four participant the past three seasons and a Great 8 qualifier for the past four years.
Glenwood, however, will have a size advantage under the basket. Six-foot seniors Madi Spence (15.9 points, 13.4 rebounds, four blocks) and Hailey Armstrong (10.2 points, 9.4 boards, 1.4 blocks) have been key for the Demons in the key. From the perimeter, DeCrow (11.1 points, 36 total 3-pointers) and Diaz (6.4 points) have been effective, and 5-7 senior Jaime Crowley (6.0 rebounds) has been one of the Demons’ scrappier players.
The Demons are at their best, however, when they’re able to run with the ball in transition. Palisade and Rifle slowed Glenwood down with their grind-it-out offensive sets, which the Demons aren’t anticipating from the Jaguars.
If that happens, though, Glenwood feels it’ll be ready.
“If that happens,” DeCrow said, “we’ll clamp down and play solid defense. I think we learned a lesson from those games.”
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It was a close game, but after some thrilling back-and-forth plays the Rifle Bears were able to pull off the 28-20 victory over The Academy on May 1.