Cortez girls top Demons; Rifle wins 2
GRAND JUNCTION – A 41-36 loss to Montezuma-Cortez left the Glenwood Springs girls thinking.
Thinking about missed opportunities. Thinking about a 16-3 third quarter. Thinking about letting what appeared to be a sure win slip through their fingers.
“We beat ourselves,” said Demon coach Charlie Brenzikofer of the loss that forces the Glenwood girls to win today or end the season.
“We had a chance to go up by 12 in the second quarter, then we missed six uncontested layups. You can’t do that,” Brenzikofer said.
Deep into the second quarter, the Demons appeared to have the game in control against the Southwestern League Panthers.
A 10-0 run gave Glenwood a 21-11 lead, and the Demon defense was bottling up Cortez/.
Glenwood had forced the slow-footed Panthers into 17 turnovers, and had limited them to six field goals in 23 attempts.
Then the Demons shooting went cold.
Glenwood failed to score for the rest of the second quarter after Heather Hert’s layup with 2:08 left. Cortez scored the last five points in the period to cut the Demons’ lead to 21-16 at intermission.
The third quarter was worse for the Demons.
The Demon scoring drought continued until the 1:41 mark. Megan McKinnie had Glenwood’s only points in the period on a fallaway bank shot, followed by a successful free throw.
In between Stefanie Allison dismantled the Demons.
The 5-foot-10 junior post scored 10 of her game-high 18 points in the third quarter, capping her performance on a rare four-point play near the end of the quarter that put Cortez ahead 32-24.
But the Demons rallied.
A final 8-4 run on baskets from Jeri Polowchena, Kessie Schwanebeck, Keegan Nadon and Hurt cut the deficit back to 36-34. And with 3:32 remaining, there was plenty of time for the Demons to come back.
Two successful Polowchena free throws slashed Cortez’s lead in half.
Down 37-36 with just over 90 seconds left, Glenwood never scored again.
Allison added her two final points on free throws with 20 seconds remaining. And the best the Demons could do in response was Natalie Lancaster’s short 3-pointer in the waning seconds.
“This game’s over. Now we have to do it the hard way,” Brenzikofer said of the Demons, who now need two consecutive wins to obtain one of the five available spots in the 4A State Tournament
“I’m tired of learning lessons,” he concluded. “We need to execute.”
Rifle boys win
The Glenwood Springs boys also lost in the first round on Thursday. The Demons lost to league-champion Rifle 58-36 at Mesa State College.
The Bears built a big 32-11 halftime lead and cruised to the win. Carl Day led Rifle with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Ryan Shideler added 11 points while Steven Winschell scored 13.
Andy Gardineer added 10 assists for the Bears.
Brian Pyland led Glenwood with 11. Jeremy Wilson added 10.
Rifle girls win
Also Thursday, the Rifle girls escaped the first round with a 43-41 win over Palisade.
After trailing for much of the game, the Rifle girls rallied when Autumn Hedberg hit a 3-pointer 41 seconds to play.
That pulled the Bears to within a point of Palisade.
Ashley Gavito converted two free throws with 21 seconds to play to put Rifle ahead 42-41.
And the final point for the Bears came on a free throw by Nicole Erpestad with :05 on the clock, clinching the 43-41 win.
The Rifle girls will play at 3 p.m. Friday at Mesa State against Montrose, a 58-40 winner over Steamboat Springs on Thursday.
In other Thursday games in 4A, the Montrose girls beat Steamboat 58-40 and Moffat County hammered Delta 73-15.
On the boys’ side, Cortez defeated Moffat County 76-58 and Delta topped Battle Mountain 62-55.
The Montrose boys also topped the Steamboat boys 44-38.
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